Shop the Swap: 5 tips for success at the SSWSC Ski and Sport Swap |

Shop the Swap: 5 tips for success at the SSWSC Ski and Sport Swap

People browse the deals at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's annual Ski Swap.
Matt Stensland

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Warm up for the frenzy of Black Friday with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Ski and Sport Swap. The annual consignment sale is Saturday, Nov. 9, at Olympian Hall from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For the first hour, there is a $10 entry donation. From 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. there is a $5 fee, and from 10 a.m. on, it’s free to shop. The SSWSC keeps 35% of the proceeds.

While there may be tons of people crammed into a small space all looking for the best deals, it doesn’t have to be a stressful situation. Here are a few tips for shopping the swap.

1. Get there early

The first hour is the best hour to attend if you’re looking for something rare. 

Backcountry setups are pretty uncommon, with typically no more than five available on the floor. With growing popularity, more setups may appear in the future, but they are pretty rare right now. Skate skis are also an uncommon item that attendees will want to look for early. Snowshoes will appear every few years as well, and a racing snowboard has been known to appear every so often.

Another reason to show up as doors open is if you wear a rare size. The average size range usually has plenty of options to choose from. 

Don’t worry, though. The atmosphere is not aggressive like Black Friday. There won’t be any elbows flying to get to a pair of skis.

“The energy is positive. People are really excited with the early snow this year,” SSWSC Executive Director Sarah Floyd said. “The interest in getting on snow is very high amongst our community, so we expect it to be fun and crazy and energetic.”

2. Know what you’re looking for

Upstairs will have hard gear such as skis, snowboards and boots. Downstairs will have jackets, sweaters, gloves, hats, goggles, helmets and more. While the SSWSC hosts the event, the sizes are not limited to young athletes. There’s a well rounded inventory with tons of adult-sized gear as well.

“The first thing to figure out, before you come, figure out what you need versus just what appeals to you as you walk in the door,” Floyd said. “Then, take your time and look things over and make sure it’s the right size, right item.”

There will also be a pair of vendors on site, one selling goggles and sunglasses, another selling sweaters. 

3. Ask for help

There will be SSWSC coaches and staff around Olympian Hall. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, consult someone. The coaches have knowledge of varying disciplines of skiing and boarding, so it’s likely someone in the building has an answer to any winter sport-related question. Plenty of staff members can help determine the type and length of ski best for what you’re looking for.

4. Don’t be afraid to show up later

There is no entry fee donation between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Boots and Alpine skis are the most popular items at the swap. While they may not be the prettiest or the least expensive, there will still be plenty hanging around in the afternoon. 

5. Keep an eye out for a hidden gem

The event is called ski and sport swap for a reason. Sometimes, some generic sport equipment will slip through, such as bikes, tents or other odd items. You may show up for the skis and walk away with something entirely different.

“It is ski and sport. It is primarily winter sports, but it is any sporting equipment,” Floyd said. “We end up with a lot of old and outdated equipment. People build lawn furniture or fences out of old skis and there’s been some really unique things in that regard.”

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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