Skiers brave economy’s moguls

Bindings, boards, other gear must-haves at ski swap

Greg Miller, left, of Aztec Ski Rental adjusts a binding on a new snowboard for nine-year-old Hannah Cox, center, as her father Jesse tries a snowboarding boot on her little brother Sheldon, 6, at the Powderhorn Ski Swap Saturday at Two Rivers Convention Center.

A gloomy financial forecast won’t keep Bailey Peeso from hitting the slopes on a powder day.

To save money, the 22-year-old, along with a handful of friends also in their early 20s, would rather eat Ramen noodles and carpool than miss carving fresh tracks on any of the area’s ski hills.

“It’s really more about finding ways to go to the mountain cheaper,” Peeso said while shopping Saturday at the
Powderhorn Ski Patrol Ski Swap at Two Rivers Convention Center.

The annual event attracts about 3,000 shoppers, organizers said, but this year’s total topped that a little after noon as droves of folks swooshed into the convention center in search of good deals on ski gear, apparel and lift tickets.

Among the crowd, Joel Mahnke found a pair of new ski boots. As with other purchases in this sputtering economy,

Mahnke said the first thing he asks of himself, his wife and three teenage children is: “Do we really, really need that?” On Saturday, the answer was yes.

Mahnke’s wife, Sandi, who doesn’t ski, said she was happy to report that none of their children had yet located any ski gear they couldn’t live without. 

The family shops at the swap for good deals on lift passes at their favorite mountain, Telluride, where they also have lodging.

But Joel Mahnke said those new boots will come at a price, as the family will ski this year instead of taking their Christmas vacation to a faraway, warm locale.

“It’s more affordable,” he said of skiing.

Derek Farnsworth, 22, doesn’t have an issue paying good money for quality ski equipment, but he said he shops wisely to avoid paying full retail prices. The skier of 18 years said he’d rather save money with discounted lift tickets and appreciated the free Powderhorn lift ticket attached to the price of Saturday night’s viewing of the 2008 Warren Miller ski film “Children of Winter.”

Saturday’s $2-a-person cover charge funds training for Ski Patrol volunteers, the cost of snow machines and first-aid materials, volunteer Leann Hoogeueen said.

Hoogeueen said the event gets folks excited for a new ski season.

“It’s kind of like a social event,” she said.

It continues today until 4 p.m.


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