Nina Byrd takes a ski machine for a spin Saturday while perusing the goods at a gear swap at Kenai Central High School with her mom Rhonda.
Photo by M. Scott Moon
Peninsula residents made one of their first transitions to the winter sport season Saturday as the Kenai Central High School Nordic ski team held its annual Sports Swap in the school's cafeteria.
"This is a good deal. I purchased a pair of waxless skis, boots and poles for my 12-year-old daughter and it wasn't very expensive at all," Megan O'Neill of Kenai said.
She attributed the success of her lucrative purchase to her punctuality. The ski swap ran from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., but sales at the event are always fast and furious early on.
"I've come a couple years now, but I never got here at nine, and that's when you have to get here to get the good stuff," she said.
The Sports Swap annually has both skate and Nordic skis in a variety of brands and sizes, but in addition to skis and ski equipment, there also were snow boards, boots, hockey equipment, snow suits, and winter clothing, and several pieces of exercise equipment typically used for training for winter sports. This season's event was one of the biggest in recent years.
"It's a wonderful event," said Mary Lou Klauder of Kenai, who with fast growing children at home, said attending the Ski Swap annually is a good way to save a few bucks.
"As the kids' feet get bigger I have to keep trading in the sizes of the ski boots to get bigger ones," she said.
Lucky for her, she wears a six in women's shoes a four in boys so she said she saves a few more dollars by wearing her children's ski boots.
Organization is another draw of the event.
"I found the event extremely organized compared to other swaps I've been to around the state," said Dale Heckert of Kenai.
Heckert said he liked that all items had the prices marked on them, and that there was a checkout system to expedite purchasing, rather than trying to exchange money with each individual person selling gear.
Not everyone that attended the event was a seasoned skier. Lynnda Kahn of Soldotna was a first-timer looking to test the waters of the sport before making a substantial financial investment in gear.
"I'm just starting out and I'm not sure if I want to do Nordic or skate skiing, so I bought some classic no-wax skis that were a good bargain to find out," Kahn said.
KCHS junior and first-year ski team member Chelsea Reid said she thought the turnout for this year's event was good and she was happy to see it.
"This is an important fund-raiser for us. It gives us money for uniforms, for travel and to hire an assistant coach," Reid said.
Mary Ellen Summer of Kenai has three kids on the ski team and knows how expensive having athletic children can be, but she said it wasn't just the kids who benefited from the Ski Swap.
"The way it works is people bring in their gear on Friday and then the kids sell it on Saturday with 20 percent of the sale going to the ski club. So, I think it's a good deal for everybody," she said.
In year's past the event has raised between $500 and $1000 for the ski team.
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