Swap breeds excitement for winter
VAIL, Colorado – There’s something about shopping for ski-season gear that just puts you in the winter spirit.
The 41st annual Ski and Snowboard Club Vail’s Swap event is just the shopping event that gets locals energized about skiing and snowboarding each year.
“Whenever you buy something new, the first thing you want to do is test it out,” said Eric Dickson, of Edwards.
The swap was starting to slow down Saturday afternoon after a busy Friday night and Saturday morning. Locals were swarming Dobson Ice Arena looking for the perfect gear at the perfect prices since the swap opened Friday evening.
Laura Main, of Leadville, has been coming to the swap for three years. She brings her children and enjoys getting them new gear for the season, she said.
The family found a $900 pair of skis for $300 and brand-new ski boots for $70.
Her son, Nathanael Main, 11, said perusing the aisles at the swap just makes him “really want to go skiing.”
Mindy Brill-Mauro, an SSCV parent and six-year volunteer at the swap, said that’s one of the reasons the event has become so popular around the valley.
“It’s like a tradition – ‘Are you going to the swap?'” Brill-Mauro said. “I think it’s an amazing way to get everyone excited for the upcoming season.”
Maria Sanchez, 13, went to the swap with her mother, Gaby, and brother, Pablo, 11, to find new gear because she said she’s a better snowboarder now.
“I wanted to get better quality stuff for this year,” Maria said. “I like bright colors because I like to stand out on the mountain.”
Gaby Sanchez said shopping at the swap takes a lot of patience because there are more than 20,000 items for sale, but it’s worth it in the end.
“We found some good deals,” Sanchez said.
Nigel Cooper, SSCV’s director of program development, said the swap is a big deal for the club because it raises money to help lower the costs for many of the athletes.
The swap is part of the reason that SSCV was able to invest nearly $3 million in state-of-the-art snowmaking equipment at Golden Peak last year, which now provides training runs for athletes at home rather than over the pass at Copper Mountain.
Ski club athletes Victor Guilmineau, 13, and Max Pierce, 10, are two of about 300 volunteers who helped out at the event. You can almost see snowflakes in their eyes as they talk about the upcoming season.
“(The swap) gets me in the mood for winter,” Victor said.
“It makes you feel excited,” Max said.
The boys are hoping the weather is just right so they can get their first training runs of the season in sometime next week. If all goes well, they’ll be following in the tracks of Olympic gold medal winner Lindsey Vonn, who is scheduled to begin training at Golden Peak as early as Monday.
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at