Vail Ski Swap celebrates 50 years with Willy Wonka-inspired Golden Ticket giveaway

50 lucky kids will win $50 gift certificates to commemorate 50 years

To drop off your gear to sell at the Vail Ski & Snowboard Swap, stop by one of three locations on specific days and times. The swap returns Oct. 25-27.
Chris Dillmann |

The Vail Ski Swap is celebrating 50 years this year, starting in 1969 with a handful of creative locals hosting a pre-winter gathering and exchange of ski equipment ahead of the season.

In celebration of the 50th annual Vail Ski Swap, returning to Dobson Ice Arena Oct. 25-27, organizer Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is holding a Willy Wonka-inspired Golden Ticket giveaway for 50 kids in partnership with Alpine Bank.

Beginning Sept. 20 through Oct. 21, any school-aged child up through high school can log on to and fill out an online form to enter the contest. Participants must be an enrolled student in any Colorado-based grade school, middle school or high school and will need to provide basic and verifiable information about themselves and their parents. One entry per child. (Multiple entries will be disqualified.)

At random, 50 young people will be selected to receive a $50 Golden Ticket, which can be applied to any purchase of youth ski and snowboard equipment at the swap.

Participants may show up in person anytime during the three-day event to see if they have won. At least one parent or guardian will need to be present, as well.  

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“We really wanted to do something special for the 50th anniversary of the Ski Swap,” said Geoff Mintz, communications manager for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, in a news release. “Our motto at SSCV is, ‘For the Kids,’ so it was important that we make the golden anniversary of the Vail Ski Swap a really fun event for young skiers and snowboards in the Vail Valley and around Colorado.”

A swap for all ages

The Vail Ski Swap features products from across all snowsport disciplines: alpine, snowboard, telemark, backcountry and Nordic. The swap also presents an array of new soft goods and accessories, such as jackets, pants, helmets, gloves and goggles, as compiled by vendors from around the region.

The three-day swap kicks off Friday, Oct. 25, at 5 p.m. with a $15 admission during the first two hours. Kids 12 and younger are admitted free. At 7 p.m. on that Friday, the admission drops to $5. There are no admission fees for the remainder of the weekend. The swap will be open for business from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27. All sales are final.

Want to sell your gear?

Bring new or used equipment to either of Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s drop-off locations prior to the swap. If it sells, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail will take a 25%commission and return the remaining profits to the seller by mail

This year’s drop-off locations are as follows:

  • Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Elk Parking Lot, Avon
  • Saturday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Brush Creek Elementary, Eagle
  • Thursday, Oct. 24, from noon to 7 p.m. at Dobson Ice Arena, Vail

At the drop-off locations, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail’s will have volunteers on hand to help with any pricing or other questions about the selling process.

While the swap accepts almost anything in terms of used ski and snowboard equipment, there are a handful of items that will be turned away: unmounted bindings, heavily used boots, used hats, helmets, gloves, goggles, base layers or other accessory items. All of these items can be purchased new at the swap.

Sellers should check the status of their items by using tag numbers and visiting Unsold equipment must be picked up at Dobson Ice Arena on Sunday, Oct. 27, from 3 to 5 p.m. The Swap cannot keep equipment after 5 p.m. on Sunday.

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