Hundreds attend the annual ski swap, a fund-raiser for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail.
Pushing a supermarket cart with five pairs of skis, a snowboard, three pairs of boots and a helmet, Kate Scaggs got on line to pay for the equipment that, she said rolling her eyes, will outfit some of her six children this winter.
“I think I have about $1,500 in stuff here … if I get lucky,” Scaggs said. “That’s still a good deal and it’s for a good cause.”
Hundreds, probably thousands, showed up this weekend at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s 34th annual ski swap at Dobson Arena. On Friday, Halloween night, people showed up for early-bird shopping wearing costumes. Saturday, it was raining, and some snow had dropped in the higher elevations of the mountain.
Janine Glennon, 41, of Avon, walked out of the ice arena with a snowboard, boots and a helmet for her son.
“I paid $130 instead of $300 – that’s a deal,” Glennon said.
“The swap is getting better every year,” said Maggie Dumphy, who came with Glennon just to hang out and left with a pair of snowboard mittens and a “head sock” – an all-in-one neck gator and hat.
“I came needing nothing, but I found this,” she said as she left the ice arena with a big smile. “The swap is getting better every year.”
The bare floor of the ice rink was covered with plywood and packed with racks full of skis and snowboards, jackets and pants. Tables were full of helmets, gloves, goggles, socks and bindings. Hundreds of snowboard and ski boots sat patiently on the bleachers, like fans in a hockey game waiting for their team to score.
About 25,000 items got checked for the swap this year, said Aldo Radamus, director of Ski and Snowboard Club Vail.
“It’s great for the community because everyone can get set for the winter for a bargain price and vendors can sell excess inventory,” he said.
The equipment sold ranged from brand new gear from local and regional ski shops to used stuff that people don’t want to keep in their garages anymore.
“This year, the offer is particularly good,” Radamus said. “I see a lot of contemporary equipment – shaped skis instead of the old straight ones. This year for example, we only have one rack of skis over 200 centimeters. Last year we had three or four.”
With the new shaped technology, skiers need shorter skis.
“We also have more snowboards and twin tips,” he said.
And there were quite a few bargains out there. For example, a pair of new Atomic R 11s with bindings were selling for $600 – the list price was $1,200; good used racing skis were going for about $200; poles for $14; and goggles for $30.
“Last night, I helped a good skier who bought skis, bindings and boots, all new for $400,” said Ethan Beck, a Ski and Snowboard Club Vail head coach. “In the shop, just the skis would have been $600.”
This was Beck’s seventh ski swap in Vail and he said this Saturday was busier than last year.
Not only the edges of the new skis shined, but the service, too. To avoid lines, more than two dozen volunteers rang up sales taking cash, checks and credit cards.
A percentage of the proceeds support Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s racing and recreational programs. The club offers programs for children and adults.
Radamus declined to say how much money the club, a nonprofit organization, raised other years, but, he said, the swap is one of the two biggest fund-raisers of the year. The other one is the “Glitter Gates and Rails” fund-raiser dinner on Nov. 15.
Edwards developer Rick Mueller also hit the ice arena Saturday and bought a new pair of skis, boots and poles for his 10-year-old daughter, Makenzie.
This was his second year visiting the swap, Mueller said. Last year, he brought Makenzie’s old stuff and sold it.
“This,” he said pointing at a shiny, colorful new pair of Atomics, “will be somebody’s skis next year. The kids get better and they just need new stuff.”
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.