Vail Nordic Swap returns Saturday |

Vail Nordic Swap returns Saturday

Melanie Wong

If you go...

What: Vail Nordic Swap

Where: Lower level of the Vail Nordic Center in Vail

When: Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

How much: Free entry, purchases must be made with cash or check

More info: Call Dawes Wilson at 970-476-1914 or Stephen White at 970-376-1033.

VAIL — Returning for its third decade, the Vail Nordic Swap is back in town on Saturday, with gear for all things Nordic, ski-mountaineering, telemark and alpine touring.

The annual swap goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lower level of the Vail Nordic Center. For sellers with gear to check in, bring items by today from 4 to 8 p.m. If your item sells, then 10 percent of the price goes to the Vail Nordic Ski Club.

Swap founder and organizer Dawes Wilson said that these days, many people looking for used gear turn to online outlets like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook groups. Still, he thinks that ski swaps have their advantages.

“Swaps have the advantage of physical retail (shops) without the higher costs,” he said. “Buyers can see, touch and try on with the help of knowledgeable people. Sellers can easily and efficiently put their gear in front of buyers and get realistic advice about how to price it. It worked 30 years ago when the Vail Nordic Club first put on their Nordic Ski Swap and it still works now.”

The swap started when Wilson wanted to find an affordable place to get Nordic gear. Since its first days, the swap has transformed — it’s grown, but is still small enough to get one-on-one help, and while it started completely with skinny skis, these days you’ll find everything from skate ski gear to AT setups to snowshoes.

Wilson said for a time, telemark gear was quite popular. Now, there’s still telemark gear on sale, but most customers are looking for AT or Nordic skate ski equipment.

You’ll also find clothing and accessories, but no alpine/downhill gear. Payment must be in cash or check.

If you’re new to the sports and don’t know too much about the gear you’re buying, organizers will be on hand to help and give advice, Wilson said.

Proceeds from the swap go toward the cost of putting on the event, and the rest goes to the Vail Nordic Ski Club, which supports Nordic skiing in the Vail Valley. The club puts on races and training events, as well as donates money to worthy Nordic-related causes. Past causes include Thomas Walsh’s cancer fight and Sylvan Ellefson’s Olympic bid.

Organizers advise buyers to get there early, as most items are sold within the first hour.

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

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