Winter bargains at annual ski swap |

Winter bargains at annual ski swap

The forecast promises the return of summer this weekend, but inside the halls of Steamboat Springs Middle School, the focus will be on winter savings.

“I imagine that even if we had all the money we needed to run the club, this would be one of those fundraisers we would still want to do,” said Katy Tirone, director of special events for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Tirone and the staff of the SSWSC view the annual Ski and Sport Swap as more of a public service than a fundraiser. But luckily for the Winter Sports Club, which doesn’t have all the money it needs, the ski swap fills both roles.

“I usually come back home with more stuff than I take,” said Rick DeVos, the Winter Sports Club’s executive director. “There are a lot of really good deals, and it’s a chance for our athletes to get what they need at a good price.”

The Ski Swap’s simple formula has helped locals find great ski deals on new and used sporting equipment for more than 20 years and plays an important role in reducing the cost of participating for local athletes.

“Most of the money we raise goes to help supplement coaches’ salaries,” DeVos said.

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The money from fundraisers such as the Ski Swap, the Ski Ball, Winter Carnival and a few competitive events helps to reduce what the athletes pay by about 35 percent. Last year, the Ski and Sport Swap brought in close to $20,000 for the Winter Sports Club.

“It helps keep things reasonable,” DeVos said.

DeVos said the annual Ski and Sport Swap is the kickoff of winter for many families in Steamboat Springs.

Starting with Friday’s “Early Bird” sale, locals will be able to round up great deals on used and new ski and sports equipment.

Got a garage full of ski gear?

DeVos said the ski swap is also a great opportunity to unload some of that used equipment for a little extra cash and room before the snow starts to fly this winter.

The Winter Sports Club keeps 30 percent of the sale, and the seller gets 70 percent. DeVos said sellers who would rather see that money go to the Winter Sports Club can simply donate the used equipment by stopping by a special tent set up outside the middle school Friday afternoon. Volunteers will handle the paperwork and provide a receipt for tax purposes.

DeVos said anyone interested in selling used gear for cash can stop by the SSWSC office at Howelsen Hill Lodge through Thursday to pick up the necessary tags.

He said it would save time and aggravation if the tags were filled out before the items are dropped off at the sale. The consignment check-in will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. Friday.

The event will begin that same night with the Early Bird Sale. Adults can pay $5 and children younger than 18 get in free to check out all the goods beginning at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, the sale will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and there is no charge for admission.

All unsold consignment items must be picked up at the middle school between 3 and 5 p.m. Saturday. The sellers will need their claim stubs to take their items. All items not picked up by 5 p.m. will be considered a donation to the Winter Sports Club and will be retained for club use, discarded or donated to charity.

— To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209 or e-mail