Ski swap, a beloved annual tradition, canceled due to coronavirus |

Ski swap, a beloved annual tradition, canceled due to coronavirus

Matt Ferrante, from right, checks out a pair of skis with his wife, Meredith Ferrante, and friend Alyssa Kuhl during the annual Park City Ski Swap at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse Friday evening, November 1, 2019. (Tanzi Propst/Park Record)
(Tanzi Propst/Park Record)

The Park City Ski Swap and Sale, a beloved community tradition and an important fundraiser for Park City Ski & Snowboard, has been canceled, the latest popular local event to be nixed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Christie Hind, the club’s executive director, announced the decision late last week. She said Park City Ski & Snowboard “made every effort to find a way to responsibly host” the long-standing event, but with cases of COVID-19 in and around Summit County continuing to increase, organizers could not feasibly do so.

The decision came in stages, Hind said. By Sept. 25 it was clear to the club that the ski swap, typically held in early November, could not take place in a “business-as-usual” manner. The event is typically held indoors at the Basin Recreation Fieldhouse and draws huge crowds of people in search of deals on used ski and snowboard equipment over a period of several days. Proceeds from the swap are used to support programs, pay coach salaries and cover operating costs.

“Our team then quickly began to research other formats — outdoor, farmer’s market-style — and technologies such as a digital reservation system to manage crowds that could allow PCSS to hold some type of swap,” she said.

As organizers looked at different options over the past two weeks, Hind said they watched the coronavirus case count continue to rise.

“The swap draws attendees from across and beyond our community, and public health data is clearly showing surging positive cases in both Summit County and throughout the state,” Hind said. “The question we kept asking ourselves was, ‘Is it responsible to hold a mass gathering with attendees coming from communities where COVID case growth is so significant that it garners national attention?’”

The answer to that question was “no.”

“We ultimately decided that there was no responsible or safe way to hold the swap, and PCSS made the decision to cancel the event,” she said.

Hind said organizers had been monitoring the COVID-19 situation in and around Summit County for the past several months, knowing it would determine whether they could hold the ski swap. While the decision to cancel the club’s biggest and most visible fundraiser has financial ramifications, Hind said, “some things are more important than money.”

“We had to put the safety of our staff, volunteers and attendees above all other priorities, and PCSS recognizes it is the right decision for this year,” she said. “The Park City Ski Swap and Sale is a beloved community event, and we are proud that it has grown into one of the largest swaps in the nation, (and while we wish) we could’ve found a solution, there simply was not a way for us to safely manage such a large gathering this November.”

As of right now, Hind said there is no alternative event being planned. To hold the ski swap online would be challenging and cost-prohibitive given Park City Ski & Snowboard would have only a month to put it together. For now, eager skiers and snowboarders will have to look elsewhere to stock up on gear before the winter.

“We are proud of the swap we’ve run so successfully for the last 47 years and can’t wait to host it again once crowds can safely gather,” Hind said. “Like so many things in 2020, the Park City Ski Swap and Sale is taking a pause this year and we will be back again to host this community event.”

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