The annual ski swap at West High School generates major hype before the event even begins.
Eager skiers and snowboarders line the school hallways at 8 a.m., an hour prior to the swap, as if they were waiting to snag the newest version of Halo at Best Buy.
At least that's how Russell Sell, a race parent and former Alyeska Ski Club board member, described the first day of the ski swap.
On Oct. 30 and Oct. 31, the Alyeska Ski Club and UAA Ski Team will host the annual West High Ski Swap, an event that's been going on for the past 40 years. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31.
From freestyle skis to twin tips, backcountry skis to snowboards, the Ski Swap is an opportunity for community members to sell their used skis or snowboards, purchase new equipment or speak with representatives from Alyeska Resort, the Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage and more.
The event brings together everyone from the beginner skier to the advanced racer, appealing to a large community of winter-recreation enthusiasts.
"Alaska is a state of individuals, and those individuals like to get out and about and explore," Sell said.
Whether you want to talk expert to expert or be fitted with your first pair of bindings, Sell said the swap is broad enough to meet the needs of individuals and their families.
Sell said the event has educated athletes and parents who are involved with the sport of skiing at the recreational and racing level. These individuals look closely at used equipment, specifically bindings and helmets, to make sure the equipment is compliant with current binding standards and safety.
A fully-functional pair of skis may cost up to $60. Children's skis can range from $10 to $25. A pair of freestyle skis may average $80 to $100.
In addition to nabbing some great deals, the ski swap is also an opportunity to receive information on winter recreation programs that are sponsored by various ski clubs and resorts around Anchorage.
"We're not only trying to raise funds for our ski clubs and for our budget that supports our alpine team at UAA, we're trying to be a source of information," Sell said.
In addition to promoting healthy winter activities, the Alyeska Ski Club and UAA Ski Team are also promoting community service by supporting the Food Bank of Alaska's Thanksgiving Blessing Project. Swap-goers are urged to bring a canned good or non-perishable item to the event.
Admission and parking are free.
2010 West High Ski Swap
West High School
1700 Hillcrest Dr.
Anchorage, AK 99517
Kelly McLain can be reached at kelly(at)alaskadispatch.com.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing