Alyeska Ski Club Swap: An annual pilgrimage for Anchorage families

Alyeska Ski Club members - who wouldn't want to support such a wholesome group of kids? (image courtesy Alyeska Ski Club)

Pre-set the coffeemaker, parents, it’s just about ski swap season. Alyeska Ski Club is hosting their annual swap-until-you-drop event this weekend, October 18-20 at West High School in Anchorage. Often referred to as the biggest, best, and most cacophonous, the “AK Ski Swap” has some new ideas and new procedures to tempt even seasoned attendees.

Online gear check-in: This year, the internet has become the place to be for gear checks if you wish to sell your kids’ outgrown or unused equipment. You can even print out sales tags and record your stuff, to make things easier during the heat of battle – I mean selling.

Warren Miller’s new movie: Hello – I’ve been watching Warren Miller movies since people used bear trap bindings, and I can personally attest to his level of ski film awesomeness. “Ticket to Ride” features an Alaskan, too, so you won’t want to miss that. Purchase your tickets to either the Friday night show or the Saturday matinee online at the club’s ski swap website.

Diverse gear: It’s not just about skis and boots, this year. Club honchos tell me all types of winter gear is welcome, from fat-tire bikes to snowshoes, and they need yours, too! Let’s think about it this way; the more we provide, the more options we’ll all have, and that is a winner when it comes to sizing up stuff for kids and the upcoming winter.

Image courtesy Steve Mashburn.

What you need to know, from the expert swapper-parents: 

1. Leave the kids at home if you can help it. Serious swappers know it’s all about finding the gear before someone else does. If you’re walking at toddler speed, you might miss out on that new snowsuit or pair of mom or dad-sized skis. EXCEPTION: If your kids need ski boots, they really should try them on in person. No returns are available, and with many children, knowing their size is simply not enough to prove comfort.

For alpine skis, the tips should hit right at the middle of their forehead. Nordic skis should rise to just above a kid’s head. I’ve been known to take a measuring tape with me, along with son’s height dimentions written down on a slip of paper.

2. Have a plan. While browsing is indeed fun, and often fruitful, keep in mind that many people are on a mission, and if you have specific items you know you need, scope out the lay of the land and dive on in. Have your money ready, and remember not to haggle, because you can’t.

3. Come with coffee and snacks. It’s a long day. If you bring the kids, add more snacks, but not the coffee.

Ready, set – GO SWAP! For the sake of little guys like Wyatt, here.

Image courtesy Steve Mashburn.

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