Hundreds Gear Up at 49th Annual Ski Swap at Spirit Mountain

By Sunday only a few skis, snowboards and boots sat in the room at the Spirit Mountain Chalet.

DULUTH, Minn.- Hundreds of experienced and novice skiers and snowboarders got their gear at the 49th Annual Team Duluth Ski Swap at Spirit Mountain over the weekend, keeping a nearly 50-year tradition alive.

By Sunday only a few skis, snowboards and boots sat in the room at the Spirit Mountain Chalet.

According to the staff of active Team Duluth skiers and snowboarders, a line was out the door when the ski swap started Friday, and by Saturday they were almost cleaned out of up to 1,500 skis and snowboards.

“You include that with boots and poles, we’ve got a lot more people skiing on the hill this year then we’ve had in the past,” said Jason Hegg, President of the Team Duluth Alpine and Snowboard Club.

Called the largest and oldest ski swap in the Northland, the event was a precursor to what many hope to be a fun winter according to Hegg.

“They’re stuck at home a little bit more than they used to be and so they’re looking at opportunities to do some different things and we’re really happy to be able to support the community, try to get them out skiing,” he said.

Every year families come to sell their old equipment, with some getting bigger sizes for their growing kids.

New boots were on the list for one mother-daughter duo — ski swap regulars for the past three years.

“We were a little skeptical like is it gonna happen is it not but we’re just really glad that it is happening,” Lindsey Johnson said with her daughter Annilyn, who’s been skiing for three years.

She said she sees more people get to experience the sport without breaking the bank by shopping secondhand at the swap.

“You don’t necessarily need to buy new for your kids ’cause they grow out of them; they’re usually in it for one season so it’s good. And it’s a nice option for families that are kind of on a tight budget,” said the mother.

The pandemic did bring new rules. Credit cards instead of cash were required, surfaces were routinely sanitized and cleaning products were on hand for equipment tried on but not bought.

All proceeds from the Ski Swap went to Team Duluth, to make classes and programs more affordable for kids in the area.

Meanwhile Spirit Mountain leaders say they hope to open in late November, weather permitting.

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