Buying new every year is costly, especially for a family. Plus the cost of lift tickets and accommodation add up over a season. Gear swaps are a a way to economize, especially for the kiddos.
What is a swap, anyway? Put simply, a swap is where people with gear they want to get rid of put it up for sale and people who are looking for gear can go buy it, at prices way lower than retail.
Ski swaps are a great place to look for NEWER used equipment. Advanced skiers and riders who buy high-end gear often will only use it for a season before they upgrade to the newest equipment.
You can find NEW equipment. Local dealers and businesses often unload samples, demo equipment and excess stock from last season.
It saves money. Dealers price their goods to sell, and items may be sold on consignment or sellers are paid upfront for it. Every part of the process is geared to move things so they don’t have to warehouse it afterward.
Get everything in one place. Along with skis and snowboards equipment, there is typically a full range of other winter gear available, including clothing, gloves, hats and accessories.
Don't just go for the deals, go for the pro tips. Talk to the people working the swap. They are typically experienced skiers and snowboarders and will help you select what's best for you.
Why replace with used equipment?
Kids grow, but gear doesn't. By the time you pull out last year's equipment, you may find your little one has graduated 2 or more sizes. Buying new is costly, so buying nearly new or gently used is a great option.
Replace worn gear for safety. Binding parts start to wear and become unsafe. Boots wear, especially the toes and heels, which work in cooperation with the bindings.
Newer used equipment is a sensible upgrade. If you've got REALLY old equipment, then you should consider upgrading to NEWER old equipment, that will have newer-technology safety and performance features.
Sac State Ski Swap: Third weekend of October, Sac State University Union Ballroom, 6000 J Street, Sacramento
Tahoe City's XC Swap: Second weekend of Nov, Tahoe Cross-Country Lodge, 925 Country Club Dr, Tahoe City This swap features human-powered winter sports, like Nordic/cross-country skiing and even summer activities, so you can find bikes and other "human powered" items.
UNR Swap: Mid-Sept, Grand Sierra Resort, 2500 E 2nd St, Reno, NV
Book a stay at Donner Bliss and get a deal on low-season rates while you swap shop. In general, staying at a home like Donner Bliss, where you can accommodate your whole crew, cook meals and enjoy built-in recreation at home like a hot tub, fire pit, board games and Wii, mean that you'll be getting a great deal throughout your stay.