Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club ski swap offers plenty of great deals, especially if you know what you are looking for
Steamboat Springs — If you’re looking for a used pair of skis, or you really just want to support the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, Howelsen Hill will be the place to be on Saturday.
This year, the Winter Sports Club’s annual Ski Swap will take place at Howelsen Hill Lodge. The annual event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., but starting at 8 a.m., those willing to pay an extra $5 for adults 18 and over can purchase an early-bird entry to get first shot at skies, snowboards and other winter gear.
“We hope this event fills a core community need,” said Jon Nolting, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletic director. “This is a great event where family members and community members can find good gear available at an affordable price. It’s also a fundraiser for the club.”
The sale offers the chance for those who want to sell their gear and those hoping to find a good deal to come together. Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club coach and former Olympian Deb Armstrong said it has become a pre-season ski tradition for many folks in Steamboat Springs.
“If you are going in completely blind, and you don’t know what you are looking for, find someone that can help,” Armstrong said. “We will have lots of people on hand to answer questions, so don’t be afraid to ask.”
The items for sale can be dropped off at Howelsen Hill from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday. Tags are on sale for five for $1, and the Winter Sports Club keeps a percentage of each sale as part of the fundraiser.
Armstrong said there are lots of great finds, but buyers need to know what they are looking for.
“It’s important to match one’s skiing ability to the ski,” Armstrong said. “The ski base is the most important thing — the top cap can have scrapes on it, but if the base has a bunch of scrapes, scratches or gouges, it might be a problem.”
She said that buyers should also pay attention to the edges. If they are too thin, the skis may not have much life left.
Tim Magill, who works at Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare, agrees.
“It’s kind of like buying a used car,” Magill said. “If the car has a bunch of dents on the outside, or the driver’s seat is worn out, that’s a good sign that the car has been used quite a bit.”
He said buyers can also look at the camber of the ski, or the reverse camber of individual skis. But he admits that determining the use, or remaining life of a ski, is difficult for someone without experience.
When it comes to buying boots, Magill said buyers should examine the bottom of boots for scratches and wear. If a boot is curved upward at the toe or the heel from walking, there may be some issues with it staying in the binding.
Bindings should also be examined closely, although Magill said it’s difficult to throughly evaluate those without testing equipment.
Both Magill and Armstrong encourage buyers to ask questions and have realistic expectations.
Armstrong said the Ski Swap is a great place to pick up affordable skies for children or to find that specific ski that will complete any quiver.
Magill also thinks it’s a good idea to take any purchases to a local ski shop before hitting the slopes to make sure they are tuned, ready to go and safe.
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