Ski swap set for Saturday in Aspen

Jason Auslander
The Aspen Times

An Aspen tradition of more than 60 years continues this weekend when the annual Aspen Ski Swap takes place Saturday at Aspen Middle School.

The 61st annual Aspen Ski Swap will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the middle school with free admission and all proceeds going toward the Aspen School District’s outdoor education programs.

The all-volunteer event began back in 1954, when no money was exchanged, as a way for Aspen locals to obtain winter equipment and clothing, according to the swap’s website. Now, more than 2,000 people attend the swap each year, with about $40,000 going to the district’s outdoor education program each year.

The Aspen School District’s outdoor education program begins in elementary school with local field trips and excursions to Denver. Third and fourth graders go on overnight trips at Rock Bottom Ranch and the Aspen Camp School for the Deaf, according to the website.

Middle schoolers spend a week camping in Arches National Park in southern Utah, head out for a multiday backcountry ski hut trip and experience a weeklong rafting trip on the Colorado River.

Eighth grade is a big year for the program and includes a six-day backpacking trip from Aspen to Marble when each student spends a day and night out of earshot of others with just a tarp, sleeping bag, water bottle and journal, according to the website. Teachers supervise the lone students but do not interact with them. Afterward, the students get back together for three days of team-building exercises.

High school students can choose from about 30 different courses that include outdoor experiences and public service options.

For Saturday’s event, those who want to sell equipment can drop off items today at the middle school between 4 and 6 p.m. Tags for items are available at Alpine Bank. Swap officials won’t accept “overly worn, torn, tattered or faded items,” the website says.

“We also don’t have space for used hats, goggles, glasses, socks or long underwear, or any underwear for that matter,” according to the website.

Also, no summer sports equipment is accepted.

Eighty percent of the sales go to the seller, while 20 percent goes to the district’s outdoor programs. Sellers receive their money between 2:15 and 4 p.m. Saturday.