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Old Vail skis turned into chairs, decks

Special to the Vail DailyVintage ski gear that is isn't recycled this weekend could be added to the collection at Vail's Colorado Ski and Snowboard Museum
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VAIL – Your old pair of skis could end up as a deck, a chair or even a new pair of skis if you bring them to Vail this weekend.

That is the concept behind the ski equipment recycling drive taking place Thursday through Sunday in Vail.

Workers from Specialty Sports Venture – which owns various stores in the area, including Vail Sports, and is partially owned by Vail Resorts – are setting up bins in Lionshead to collect old gear such as skis, snowboards, boots and poles.



Newer equipment in good condition will be donated to nonprofit groups such as SOS Outreach to help people learn to ski and snowboard.

The other equipment, such as old straight skis, will be ground up into tiny bits of plastic, metal and wood and will be reused. A North Carolina company called Fiberon uses the material to create decks. Another company uses the materials to create parking blocks for parking lots.



About 150 tons of equipment have been collected since 2008, said Chris Hildreth, senior project manager for Specialty Sports Venture.

“It’s keeping a significant amount of ski equipment out of landfills,” Hildreth said. “One-hundred fifty tons is roughly 75 cars. That’s quite a bit of material that isn’t ending up in landfills and is being reused.”

The trade group Snowsports Industries America runs the program and it is working with ski companies to use the recycled ski materials in skis. “Several ski manufacturers are interested in making inside cores of new skis” with the material, Hildreth said.



The idea is that the material will end up at ski resorts again, whether as skis, furniture or building materials, Hildreth said.

On Thursday and Friday, the Colorado Ski Museum will be collecting equipment that might be valuable for its collection.

As Vail’s 50th anniversary approaches, the museum is looking for skis and other equipment that represents Vail’s history. The museum will also be collecting contact information for people who have stories to tell about Vail’s residents and their accomplishments, said museum executive director Susie Tjossem.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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