Help Winter Sports Club at ski swap

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It's a chance to save a few bucks, see what's new in ski gear and help support the young athletes of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

But the annual Ski and Sport Swap, which will take place at the Steamboat Springs Middle School this weekend, is nothing new.

Skiing legend Gordon Wren got the ball rolling in 1951 when he introduced the event in an effort to help local children get needed skiing equipment without breaking their parents' banking accounts.

In 2004, the purpose of the Ski and Sport Swap is basically the same. The event is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday.

"I think in the perfect world, where the Winter Sports Club didn't need fund-raisers to survive, we would still do this event," organizer Katy Tirone said. "It just helps at so many different levels."

Last year, the event brought in $19,000 for the club. But it also generated $21,000 for local vendors and $12,000 for local residents who sold their extra ski stuff on consignment.

This year, thousands of items will be on sale including new equipment from local and regional vendors. Of course, there also will be plenty of used summer and winter equipment and apparel sold at the swap. The club keeps 30 percent of the sale of used equipment, while the seller takes 70 percent.

"Besides being a very big fund-raiser, we like to look at the Ski and Sport Swap as an important community service," said Rick DeVos, the Winter Sports Club's executive director.

DeVos said the idea behind the ski swap is getting people who have extra equipment with the people who need it. That might mean getting slightly used ski gear for a good price or checking out the new stuff from a number of different vendors.

"We just love doing this one," said Todd Allen, of Allen's. "You know there are going to be some great deals, but you never know what they are going to be."

Those looking to sell their stuff must register from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at the middle school.

Sellers who want to save time can pick up consignment tags (a three-part tag that must accompany every item) in advance at the Winter Sports Club office at Howelsen Hill Lodge from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Thursday.

This event is one of several that help cover part of the Winter Sports Club's operating expenses each season.

DeVos said about 55 percent of the cost of the programs at the Winter Sports Club is covered by the participants. However, the other 45 percent is paid with the help of several fund-raisers including the Ski and Sports Swap.

There will be a special early bird night sale starting at 8 p.m. Friday. For a $5 admission fee, buyers can check out the goods before Saturday's rush. Children younger than 18 will be admitted for free.

"It's definitely worth it if you are serious about buying," Allen said. "It's a chance to get the first look at what's out there and the $5 goes to the club."

On Saturday, buyers will be admitted for free from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. for the "shop 'till you drop" sale.

The event will come to a close on Sunday with the consignment pickup from 3 to 5 p.m. Sellers can pick up unsold items at that time with the required claim stub. Checks for sold items will be mailed after the event.

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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