West High Ski Swap supports UAA ski team

Need to get rid of your old skis or snowboards and make some money? Are you looking for a good deal on the latest ski equipment? Do you like helping support local groups and the community?

Get it all done by attending the 2010 West High Ski Swap Oct. 30-31 and start off your ski or snowboard season right. The free event takes place at West High School and is put on by the Alyeska Ski Club (ASC) and the UAA Ski Team.

The highly popular seasonal get-together has been going on at West High for quite some time, perhaps so much time that people can’t really seem to remember the exact year it started up.

Russell Sell of ASC and organizer of the Ski Swap, was able to paint a pretty good picture of just how long the event has been going on.

“We know of at least a couple people who grew up going to the swap, went to West High, went off to college, came back, got married, raised their kids and now those kids are attending the event,” Sell said with a laugh.

“It’s a generational event that we have 2,500 to 5,000 of our closest friends come out every year.”

ASC, a non-profit organization serving Alaska since 1970, works with nearly 500 kids in the winter time up at Alyeska Ski Resort and about 200 kids during the summer as part of their newest program “Mighty Bikes,” which is all about Mountain bike safety and fun for kids.

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Sell himself has been in charge of putting on the event for nearly a decade now and has worked closely with the UAA Ski Team ever since coming aboard.

The event also acts as the Seawolf Ski Team’s biggest fundraiser. According to Head Coach Trond Flagstad, the swap raised around $10,000 for his program last year and went into buying new equipment for the team.

Flagstad also points out the Ski Swap is so much more than just what the name may lead one to think.

“It’s more than just alpine and nordic ski gear; it’s hockey skates, sleds, bikes, helmets, boots and snowboards too,” Flagstad said. “Basically any winter activity is there.”

On top of offering some of the best deals possible for selling or buying new or used winter gear, the Swap will feature plenty of vendors ranging from local to national clubs and groups.

“The last five years or so we’ve tried to make more of an expo out of it,” Flagstad said. “We invite groups to have booths and sell products and services to get the whole ski community out there.”

According to Sell, vendors will include local ski clubs, both alpine and nordic, and will have big name ski companies, such as Swix for example, providing demos and the latest products. Local ski/snowboard groups will have sign up sheets for upcoming programs and events as well.

Perhaps the most important service the Ski Swap offers the community also acting as food collection site for those who need help with the upcoming winter and holiday months.

“(West Ski Swap) is also an intake point for the Food Bank of Alaska,” Sell said. “Anyone who comes to the swap should bring something with them such as canned foods or non-perishable items.

“It’s so easy to do and it goes so far. It’s up to us to help out.”

All the food donated by the attendee’s of the swap will go to the Thanksgiving Blessing Project, a November community-wide food distribution event.

“Our guys will come to the swap, we’re not worried about that,” Sell said. “We want to make sure this event has something more to it for the entire community.”

So where else can you sell off your old gear, get a great deal on new equipment, demo the latest and greatest gear, help support the UAA Ski Team and help feed the less fortunate all in one or two hours?

You can accomplish all of it in one easy and fun motion by making sure you get yourself and the family and friends down to West High this week.

Editors Note: Doors open for buyers and sellers 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Oct 30. and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Oct. 31. For more information on the West High Ski Swap or on ASC and the UAA Ski Team, go to www.alyeskaskiclub.org or www.goseawolves.com.

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