Ski Club Vail swap returns this weekend
45TH ANNUAL SWAP
• Friday 5 to 7 p.m. ($15 admission)
• Friday 7 to 10 p.m. ($5 admission)
• Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (free)
• Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (free)
EAGLE COUNTY — The Ski and Snowboard Club Vail swap’s 45th year is on pace to see 50 percent more public check-in items than the 44th.
And for a nonprofit organization that relies on donations to take their ever-growing club of snow-sports athletes to the next level, that’s 100 percent good news.
Several changes have taken place which are accounting for the higher number of check-in items this year. An increase in the number of equipment drop-off days leading up to the event, as well as a wider variety of drop-off locations including sites in Eagle and Edwards, has helped immensely.
Also, a simplified drop-off system, where there’s no up-front cost to the people selling items, is helping the process as well, said Euginnia Manseau, who’s been managing the swap for the last few years.
“I thought the up-front cost may be a hindrance in getting more public check-in items,” she said.
Now, instead of taking a 5 percent deposit up front and 25 percent after the item sells, the club just cuts the seller a check for 70 percent of the total after the item sells. If your item doesn’t sell, you choose to donate it, or come back and pick it up on Sunday.
Volunteer Ariane Viola has worked at the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail clubhouse drop-off location both this year and last year. She said this year they were seeing much more action, and had a different theory as to why.
“This year we’re getting much more traffic, and I think the posters have really been helping,” she said.
Vail resident John Lira dropped off a snowboard and a couple pairs of boots on Wednesday after seeing an ad. If they don’t sell, he’s donating them.
Jurgen Hintz has lived in Vail 10 years and had never dropped off anything at the swap before Wednesday. He donated eight pairs of skis and eight pairs of boots.
“I’ve been hoarding them,” he said.
Diane Gionfriddo has a fifth-grader at Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy. She’s never dropped anything off at the swap before, and unloaded bag after bag of gear on Wednesday.
‘It’s nice to put this stuff to a good cause,” she said.
By Wednesday, the swap had already received more public check in items than in 2013, and will continue to accept items at the Dobson Ice Arena Thursday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
ALL HANDS ON DECK
More drop-off hours and locations this year also created a greater need for volunteers.
“We can’t do it without them,” said Tiffany Hoversten with Ski and Snowboard Club Vail. “We are so dependent on our volunteers to make the ski swap happen, because it’s such a huge undertaking.”
Ski and Snowboard Club Vail Parents like Debbie Epifanio and her husband Barney will spend much of this weekend volunteering at the swap with their son Dominick.
But some volunteers, like Rocky Christopher, have no kids in the program, but just love working the event and supporting the club.
“It’s volunteers, our staff, the community, a really big effort from everyone,” said Hoversten. “We’ve got parents out in the neighborhoods putting up posters right now.”
Starting today, said Hoversten, it will be an all-hands-on-deck effort from the club. Every full-time employee on staff will gather to help collect and assemble 125 tables, 85 ski racks, 50 shopping carts, 30 clothes racks hangers, 20 gear bins and some 2,000 hangers at Dobson Arena.
Local businesses like Vail Resorts, Vail Cascade, City Market, Safeway and the Eagle Valley Charitable Fund lend the club the various items for the event.
“And that doesn’t include all the outside vendors who come in,” said Manseau.
All told, there will be some 20,000 items available for purchase at Dobson.
The 45th annual swap opens to the public on Friday at 7 p.m., running until 10 p.m., then re-opens Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.