Annual ski swap returns to Vail this weekend

Krista Driscoll
Some consider Ski & Snowboard Club Vail's annual ski swap at Dobson Ice Arena the official kickoff to the ski season in the Vail Valley.
Dominique Taylor | Weekly file photo |

If you go …

What: 46th annual Ski & Snowboard Swap benefitting Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

When: 5-10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.

Where: Dobson Ice Arena, 321 E. Lionshead Circle, Vail.

Cost: Admission for early-bird shopping, 5-7 p.m. Friday, is $15, or $10 with student ID; public shopping, 7-10 p.m. Friday, is $5, or free with student ID; and admission for public shopping on Saturday and Sunday is free. Select items will be discounted 25 percent Sunday.

More information: Call 970-790-5071, or visit

Consign your gear

Have some winter gear sitting in back of your closet that still has a few good miles left on it? Consign it to make some extra cash and support Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. There are two drop-off times/dates remaining, 4-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, and 7 a.m. to noon Friday, Oct. 23, both at Dobson Ice Arena. If your equipment sells during the swap, SSCV takes a 30 percent commission and mails you a check for the remaining 70 percent. If you have more than 25 items, contact prior to Tuesday, Oct. 20.

What they take:

• Used skis and snowboards

• Used poles

• Clean winter apparel

• GS suits

• Snowshoes

• Ski boots

• Touring gear

• Nordic gear

What they don’t take:

• Rusty skis and snowboards

• Broken equipment

• Used helmets

• Ripped or stained winter apparel

• Base layers

• Gloves, mittens and neck warmers

VAIL — If you want to get into skiing or snowboarding, then you’ll need more than a selfie stick and a sense of adventure. You’ll need cash, likely a hefty stack of it.

There are the hard goods, of course — skis, boots and poles — but you’ll also want a flashy brain bucket and some warm threads. Thinking of doing some racing? Add racing poles, gate guards, arm guards, shin guards and ski suits. Or maybe backcountry is more your style — pony up for alpine touring bindings or a splitboard and a whole mess of avalanche safety gear.

You can almost hear the cash register making that cartoon “ca-ching” sound over and over in your head. But if your thirst for powder is still bigger than the vast emptiness of your wallet, then Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s annual swap might be your savior.

Used but not used up

Each year in October, the swap takes over Dobson Ice Arena in Lionshead, with stacks of used-but-not-too-abused, closeout and sample gear at deep discounts.

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“There’s a lot of closeout merchandise, brand new, coming back out of retail shops and so forth, so there’s a lot of higher-end and brand-new gear, in addition to people’s personal and second-hand gear,” said Adam Brown, a volunteer. “It’s good gear and great bargains.”

Brown’s daughter goes to the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and is a first-year U14 alpine racer with SSCV, and this is his first time volunteering for the swap. He carefully inspected and tagged items as they came rolling in Oct. 10 at one of the swap drop-off sites at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards.

“We’re looking for salable items,” he said, pointing toward a flier that listed what would be accepted — skis, boards, poles, Nordic gear and snowshoes — and what wouldn’t — anything that was broken, rusty or torn.

Paul Dumas, of Edwards, handed over a couple of pairs of skis and some Salomon ski boots that his wife had outgrown. He said he’s lived in the valley for four years, but this was his first time participating in the swap.

“It’s probably a good place to get a really low price,” he said as he filled out the paperwork for the items. “After shipping on eBay I’d get $300, and I might get $200 here if I’m lucky, but I wouldn’t have to ship them. So I’m trying it for the first time.”

Down in Eagle at a second drop-off location, Tim Beck offloaded a trio of Nordica skis and some boots from his truck and tagged them.

“We’ve done the swaps for years,” he said. “It’s a great cause to support the racing programs. It’s critical to their success.”

He relinquished the gear to SSCV freeskier Izak Little, 15, who packed it away into a trailer destined for the swap. Izak is a ninth-grader at the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and has been competing with SSCV since he was about 6.

“The last guy we had brought in four pairs of good-looking skis,” he said. “I think it’s just good to get the whole community involved with Ski Club, and I think it’s a really big event and there’s a lot of equipment so everybody can buy some. It raises a lot of money for Ski Club.”


Jay Lucas, owner of Ski Base in Lionshead, has been participating in the swap for about 26 years, since before he even owned a shop. Most of what he will be bringing to the sale is samples from this year’s Helly Hansen and Scott ski lines.

“When we do next season’s buy from a sales rep, they have a sample line which is a piece of everything that company offers for sale the following ski season,” he said. “We buy the sample lines directly from the sales reps, which is a great deal. Every single jacket we have is a different piece, one of each model and color. We sell everything at wholesale, 50 percent off retail.”

Both of Lucas’ sons attend the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, and he said shopping at the swap is a must for any young ski racer.

“Deals on racing gloves, racing poles, helmets, ski suits, the knee pads, the elbow pads — anything and everything you need to get racing, you can get great deals on it, a lot of times less than wholesale or even cheaper than that,” he said.

Aside from all the great deals, the swap is also a huge boost for SSCV, Lucas said.

“We don’t play football up here, we don’t play basketball, we ski — that’s what the majority of the people do,” he said. “It’s great to have an organization like Ski Club Vail to guide your kids along with the mentoring, the skiing, the camaraderie. They really teach a lot of lessons for the kids, too, about how to behave on the slopes and being ambassadors for Vail.

“It’s a great way to grow up as a kid. Every adult I know that has been through the Ski Club Vail system has nothing but good things to say about it and great memories to share. I’m just psyched my kids can be a part of that.”

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