Good gear doing good in Eagle County |

Good gear doing good in Eagle County

CVR Thrifty Skis DT 10-17

EDWARDS, Colorado – Rarely has so much ski gear done so much good.

People donate all kinds of stuff to the local Thrifty Shops, including ski and snowboard gear. The Thrifty Shops sell it and the money helps support local charities.

“It all comes from our wonderful community,” said Greg Osteen, manager of the Thrifty Shops in Edwards and Eagle.

With the onset of colder weather and the first bit of snow, customers are rolling into the stores in Edwards and Eagle looking for almost everything … and they find it.

Stroll around you’ll find brand new Grenade gear, new and used ski and snowboard boots, skis and snowboards that would cost $1,000 new on the rack for $150.

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Some of it comes from shops around town. Most comes from people looking for a little space.

“We save it up all year and put out only the best gear we get,” Osteen said.

It’s not a consignment shop, so they get some gear that follows a well-worn path to the recycle bin. But not as much as they used to.

ARC of Denver, a string of thrift shops, runs trailers up and down the mountain and hauls tons of gear to the Front Range. This year, they’ve kept 330,000 pounds out of the local landfill.

And while we’re on the subject of the greater good, every dime the Thrifty Shops make goes to support local charities – and they make lots of dimes.

The Thrifty Shops are part of Vail Valley Cares, and last year they gave away more than $250,000 to 33 local charities.

They’ve been doing that since 1994 when the local Rotary Club helped them get started in their Edwards location.

Benny Clark was pastor of Trinity Church and president of the Rotary Club that year. Jerry Milsaps was a local minister working with him. Milsaps collected donations in his office – food, clothing, the kinds of stuff people might need at a moment’s notice.

The thing is, though, Milsaps was pretty much blind and couldn’t see the piles piling up.

So they found some space down the hill from the church in Edwards, got a little financial help from the Rotary Club, rounded up some volunteers and were on their way. They opened the Eagle store a few years later, and built their Eagle building a few years after that.

Osteen came on board in 1998.

Yeah, we were talking about ski gear, but we have to tell you about this chair that rolled in. It’s made of highly polished steer horns and cowhide.

The irony is lost on no one that you could sit in a chair made of bull bits and tell stories about how good you skied that day.

You have to see this thing, and while you’re in there take a look around at the ski gear.

So, as we were saying, almost all of the gear that makes its way to the showroom floor is pretty good.

It should surprise no one to find top-of-the-line racing gear is on the rack with a snowboard sporting a bumper sticker that says, “You! Out of the gene pool!”

“We have the best racers in the world, and some of their gear lands with us,” Osteen said.

Donations roll in all year, especially in the spring as the ski season is winding down. The store it, and the volume increases as the ski season draws near. Lots of parents wander in to outfit their kids for the season.

Some donations are more entertaining that others.

One guy dropped a mountain of money to have a new pair of ski boots custom fitted to his wife’s delicate feet.

Figuring she wouldn’t need the old boots, he donated them to the Thrifty Shop.

She tried her new custom-fitted boots, and a few days later as in the Thrifty Shop buying back her old boots.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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