By Anna Smith
Right before the snow hits, Canadian Ski Patrol (CSP) in the Palliser Zone offers families a chance to move on their old equipment and get into both new and used ski and snowboard equipment.
“The Canadian Ski Patrol has been doing ski swaps across Canada for in excess of, say, 30 years. Calgary’s probably one of the longest running ones at around the 30 year mark,” said John Haley, Ski Swap Coordinator for the Palliser Zone.
This year marks the third annual ski swap for the zone, which would have been the fourth if not for public health measures last year. Haley says that the event is very popular, both here and in other zones, especially with parents with growing children.
“First of all, we look at it as community service. Because people are similar to hockey, parents are constantly looking to resize their children’s boots every year because your child outgrows the boots from the year before,” said Haley. “And so you’re constantly searching for where you can get new product or newer product that’s gonna be suitable for your children to ski with.”
“This is an opportunity for the public to recycle their equipment, since it gives them an opportunity to tap into other equipment that they may not necessarily go out and get,” said Haley.
Roughly 60% of the consigned goods at the swap, and likely over, said Haley, will be from retail retailers, which will probably be in excess of 500 items, plus what’s brought in by the public, all under one roof and spaced out to allow for things to be tried on easily, and everything available will be safe for use, with the caveat that anything purchased should be brought to a reputable dealer to check the bindings.
“We screen everything coming in. And if it’s dangerous or obsolete, outdated equipment, we just sit back, say no thanks, you can put it in this pile here that’s going to the dump. Or you can take it home and make a chair out of it or something. We’re not going to recycle stuff that, in our opinion, is unsafe,” said Haley.
Equipment brought in by the public can be registered from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday October 21st at the Southridge YMCA in Medicine Hat, and the sale will take place Saturday Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The ski swap is one of the Ski Patrol’s fundraisers for the zone, to help them promote education and safety, as well as get equipment for members, which they acquire themselves.
“All of the people that are members of the ski patrols are in our zone are volunteers. And so we provide them service without remuneration,” said Haley. “They come from all walks of life from students to retirees, doctors, nurses, police officers, farmers, electricians. Currently we got about 4,500 controllers or volunteers from coast to coast in Canada and 56 different zones. And nine different divisions. Currently in the Medicine Hat area, our numbers are down. We’re down to 24 members currently at the moment.”
Everything brought into the sale will be tagged, and the ski patrol will take a 20% commission, but otherwise those who bring in equipment will be able to collect a cheque for their equipment if it sells toward the end of the sale, or collect their equipment. Anything left after 5pm will be considered donated to the Ski patrol.
The swap includes both downhill and cross-country skis, snowboards, boots, gear bags, ski racks and new helmets from retailers. The swap does not accept any clothing or used helmets or gloves, for health reasons.
“This year for the first time we went out and got those card readers,” said Haley. “This is our first time using it. Prior to that it was cash or cheque. And we used to have an ATM on the premises. But we purchased these now. So something that we’d like to kind of promote is the fact that you don’t have to come with $600 in cash in your pockets.”
Finally, Haley adds that they are still looking for volunteers to help manage the massive event, which last year had 200 people lined up out the door when the sale first started and saw many more over the course of the day. They are looking for volunteers both for the sale and for the Friday, when they need to bring in all of the consigned equipment.
“A little tip or a little incentive that we give to our volunteers. Anyone particularly that volunteers on Friday, is entitled to participate in the firsthand look at the new product that when we close our door Friday night at nine o’clock, and we’re getting ready for the sale and Saturday,” said Haley. “We allow an opportunity for our volunteers to get the first look at all the new consigned equipment. And so they get their first pick on a product. So that’s a little perk of being a volunteer is that they get a first look at it without the rush of people coming in on Saturday.”