Autumn. Here in the mountains it means football games, stacking firewood, riding your bike past the yellow and salmon-colored leaves in Page Meadows, and of course the two perennial favorites: Ski Swaps and Talking About What a Big Winter It’s Going to Be. Whether it’s El Niño, La Niña, yellow jackets, the farmers almanac, sun spots, wet spring, dry spring, overly active squirrels or even thick ear fuzz, we all like to conjure up reasons as to why this year will be the big cheese of winters. The winter of endless powder, when we will be skiing from November until May, when 20-foot snow banks with carved out tunnels will once again reign in Soda Springs. In the fall, hope springs eternal.
So once you have convinced yourself it’s going to snow like gangbusters, you quickly realize you are going to need some gear, and a perfect place to get it without spending the big bucks is to go to one of the three area ski swaps.
The premise is simple. Step One: Individuals bring in their really old, or not so old, ski gear to sell. Ski shops bring in new gear that didn’t sell last year or excess inventory. Step Two: Buyers arrive and peruse all the stuff, trying to find a great steal on that one item that they really need, or a really cool item that they don’t need, but it sure would be awesome to have. Step Three: Sellers return to pick up their money, or the items that didn’t sell. The ski swap organizers keep a small percentage of the proceeds and the balance goes to the sellers.
Check out the information below to pick the swap that’s right for you, but keep a few important things in mind. If you are a Buyer: There is some really good stuff at good prices and some not so good stuff at not so good prices. The good stuff goes first.
Get there early and if you are looking for something in particular, find it first, then you can saunter around checking out all the other stuff. And for Sellers: Price it to sell, because otherwise you will be dragging the stuff you still won’t use back to your garage where you are stuck with it for another year. Think garage sale prices folks, and remember, the economy ain’t exactly booming, so people are looking for deals.
~ Tim Hauserman wrote ‘Cross-Country Skiing in the Sierra Nevada’ and teaches at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area.
47th Annual North Tahoe Ski Swap
When: Saturday, October 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: North Tahoe Middle and High Schools, 2945 Polaris Road, The Highlands, Tahoe City
Cost: Admission is $1
Seller Drop Off: Items to be sold need to be dropped off between 5 and 8 p.m. on Friday, October 23.
Contact: 530-581-7050 Ext. 4344
Inside Info: This is the grand salami of ski swaps. Before North Tahoe Middle and High Schools took it over several years ago, it was run by the Tahoe Community Nursery School in Tahoe City for over 40 years. It is the schools’ main fundraiser and students work the event. To date, the ski swap has paid for things like field trips, a climbing wall in the gym and an outdoor BBQ for school events. While the event raises a significant amount of money, the true reward may be the team effort of the students and parents. Putting on a ski swap is a big project and students get the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility. There is also a Ski Swap raffle at the event with prizes from ski passes to dinners at local restaurants. Tickets are available for purchase from students.
In a major switch this year the ski swap is becoming a source for year-round recreational items. Bring in your roller blades, biking equipment and water sports gear to sell as well as your skis. Need to sell a kayak? This might be the place.
28th Annual Truckee Ski Swap
When: Saturday, November 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks Community Center, Church Street, Downtown Truckee
Cost: Admission is $1, Children 12 and under get in free.
Seller Drop Off: To sell items, pick up tags between October 27 and November 7 at the Truckee Community Center, then bring equipment to the public check-in between 7:30 and 9 a.m. on November 7. Merchant products come in on Friday, November 6 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Contact: tdrpd.com, 530-582-7720
Inside Info: Like North Tahoe’s, the Truckee ski swap has downhill, cross country and snowboarding equipment, as well as clothing and miscellaneous items.
10th annual Tahoe Cross Country Ski Swap
When: Saturday, November 14, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area, The Highlands
Cost: Free admission
Seller Drop Off: Register your sale items Friday, November 13 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Tahoe XC.
Contact: tahoexc.org, 530-583-5475
Inside Info: The only swap geared exclusively towards cross-country ski equipment, including classic, skate skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry/telemark, clothing and accessories. The most popular items are top of the line skating gear, which can go fast, so be sure and arrive early for the best gear. Staff and volunteers are on hand to help you to understand what equipment may suit you best. The event is a fundraiser for the Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association, which supports the popular Strider-Glider, Winter Discovery Center and Kids Ski Free programs at Tahoe Cross Country.