Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s 49th annual Ski & Snowboard Swap is Oct. 26-28 | VailDaily.com

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s 49th annual Ski & Snowboard Swap is Oct. 26-28

Skis, snowboards, gear and bargain-seekers will fill Dobson Ice Arena in Vail starting Friday, Oct. 26 for the 49th annual Vail Ski & Snowboard Swap. The event is a fund-raiser for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

VAIL — Buzz Schleper remembers the item he missed at the Vail Ski & Snowboard Swap several years ago. It still kind of haunts him.

Schleper, the longtime owner of Buzz's Boards in Vail and one-time dad to a Ski & Snowboard Club Vail member — former Olympic skier Sarah Schleper — was a volunteer at the event one year when someone donated a U.S. Ski Team coach's jacket, then quickly came back for it.

"It was very cool," Schleper said. "It had an outer space theme. … It was perfect for standing around at ski races."

While Schleper missed the jacket of his dreams all those years ago, there's plenty of race-related and other gear available at this year's swap.

49th anniversary

The swap is one of the oldest fundraisers in the valley and is celebrating its 49th anniversary this year. The event, as always, benefits Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

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Hillary McSpadden has been a club mom for the past five years or so and has volunteered at the swap all of those years.

In the years McSpadden has been a club mom, the swap has made constant improvements, she said.

"It's really taken off," she said.

Besides donated gear, the swap features new equipment and accessories from local businesses and other vendors. There's also a consignment area for individuals to sell their gear. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail takes a 25 percent commission on those sales.

The swap has always been an important fundraiser for the club. But club events director Euginnia Seyferth said the event is also a good way for club families to rekindle their connections just before the season begins.

"It's exciting to get everyone together," Seyferth said.

Those connections are forged again through a lot of hard work, from accepting donations to sorting items to setting up Dobson Ice Arena for a flood of vendors and visitors.

Most of those visitors — including a number of club families — are in search of screaming deals. There's plenty of lightly-used, not-very-old equipment.

But, McSpadden said, racers can benefit, too. There will be used speed suits, racing skis and other gear. Much of that equipment is snapped up by club families who need gear to fuel a very expensive sport.

But Schleper has some advice for those attending their first swap.

"It helps if you bring somebody who knows something about ski equipment," Schleper said. "You don't want to get stuck with the wrong equipment. … There are great deals to be had, if you know what you're doing."

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at smiller@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2930.

If you go …

What: 49th Annual Vail Ski & Snowboard Swap.

When: Friday, Oct. 26, through Sunday, Oct. 28.

Where: Dobson Ice Arena, Vail.

Cost: The swap opens at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26. Adult tickets are $15 for shopping from 5 to 7 p.m. Admission is $5 from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday. Admission is free the rest of the weekend.

More information: The event is a fundraiser for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail and features literally tons of donated skis and snowboards, boots, accessories and more.