"The cool part about it is it brings and connects so many different people on so many different levels together," said Jesse Hunt, executive director of the Park City Ski Team, who is in his fourth year heading up the ski swap. "In addition to that, the community is always checking out the opportunity to sell and buy gear and swap gear out. There's a lot of good equipment in the community."
The ski swap, which is scheduled to run Nov. 2-4 at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse in Kimball Junction, is one of the best ski swaps in the country, according to SKI Magazine, and Hunt said the goal each year is to continue to provide the best ski and snowboard gear at the most affordable prices.
"We're obviously trying to do our best to get the most inventory on the floor and give people the best selection possible," he said. "There hasn't been a lot that has changed in the last four years in terms of operation."
Equipment check-in is scheduled for Oct. 29 through Nov. 1 at Jans Mountain Outfitters on Park Avenue as well as at Cole Sport on Park Avenue. Check-in on Friday, Nov. 2, will run from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Fieldhouse, while check-out on Sunday, Nov. 4, will run from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sale hours are scheduled as: Friday, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission prices are as follows: Friday night-$10, Saturday-$6 and Sunday-$2. Children under the age of 12 will be admitted for free.
Hunt said moving the ski swap from smaller venues such as Treasure Mountain Middle School to Park City High School and the Fieldhouse has helped the event balloon in offerings as well as popularity.
"Suddenly we had 30,000 square feet of space and people had a much better look at things and in addition to that, it's just big," he said. "What I can remember (about previous years) is that there was obviously not a lot of space, so whatever inventory we had, it was cluttered and we were always jamming it in. I think over time, in addition to improving the locations by having more space, we've also improved the process. We have an automated system for checking in and checking out equipment. It's been made a lot more seamless for customers."
Hunt said with the help of experienced swap workers and a boatload of volunteers, they've been able to make the swap a fun experience more than just a frantic search for the best deal.
"With an event of this size, there's so many moving parts; it really requires a knowledgeable staff and people executing roles, and in the end, it's the volunteers that run it," he said. "There's literally thousands of volunteer hours that go into the event."
Over the last few years, Hunt said an average of 6,000 people have converged on the Fieldhouse in the three-day period and he said he expects that number to hold strong this year. He said that more than finding the best "screaming deal" out there, ski swaps open a door to young athletes hoping to try out a winter sport.
"People are accessing used equipment until they decide to invest in this sport," he said. "It's a great opportunity to outfit the family. I have three kids and I'll be there outfitting my kids, for sure."
For more information on the 40th annual Park City Ski Swap, visit www.parkcityskiswap.com or call (435) 649-8749.