Vail Nordic ski swap is at Vail Nordic Center on Saturday, Nov. 17; check-in is Friday |

Vail Nordic ski swap is at Vail Nordic Center on Saturday, Nov. 17; check-in is Friday

The 33rd annual Vail Nordic ski swap returns to the Vail Nordic Center on Saturday. Gear check-in begins at 5 p.m. Friday. It's a benefit for the Homestake Peak School Nordic program.
Special to the Daily |

If You Go ...

What: 33nd annual Vail Nordic ski swap

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. Gear check in 5-8 p.m. Friday, or by prior arrangement

Where: Vail Nordic Center, Vail.

Cost: No admission fee.

More information: A 10 percent commission from each sale benefits Homestake Peak School Nordic program.

VAIL — The Vail Nordic ski swap is old school, before Craigslist, Facebook, eBay and all the ways we sell stuff today.

You can walk in with absolutely no expertise. Then you can talk to an actual human being who will help you.

This year, the Vail Nordic ski swap returns to the Vail Nordic Center, which is also running a huge sale in conjunction with the swap.

Dawes Wilson and a cast of several have been running the event for years.

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Please, we’re begging you, do not call Wilson and ask something like, “What’s going to be there? I’m a size 43 and I need skate boots.”

Gear check-in is 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17.

“No one knows what we’ll have until Friday night after check-in,” Wilson said.

After three decades, they know a few things:

• There’s never enough skate equipment, and if you want some, you need to show up early.

• There’s usually lots of classic gear.

• There will be equipment and clothing for the full spectrum of Nordic and backcountry skiing, including track-skate and classic, touring, telemark, AT and snowshoes.

Wilson has five pairs of alpine skis and 25 pairs of Nordic skis … because he needs that much stuff.

“You have different kinds of gear for specific activities. There’s some crossover, but not that much. It’s like road bikes and mountain bikes,” Wilson said.

Lots of people ask for expertise. In a classic Socratic exchange, your questions are usually answered with questions.

“What do you want to do and where?” Wilson and others will ask you.

If you’re headed to a Nordic center, they’ll steer you toward one setup. If it’s your backyard — and in Eagle County, that’s also U.S. Forest Service land — that’s another. From there, get some education.

“Go take a lesson at a Nordic center. It’s more fun — as most things are — if you know how to do it,” Wilson said.

Because it’s a benefit for the Homestake Peak School Nordic program, they keep a 10 percent commission.

“How much of a benefit depends on you,” Wilson said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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