This past weekend we made the trek to Traverse City for a packed day of ski and snowboard madness that included the Grand Traverse Ski Club’s annual ski swap and the Snowvemberfest rail jam.

The GT Ski Club puts on one of the best and largest ski and snowboard swaps in the state, and I would be willing to put it up against many in the midwest.  In order to gain entrance to the swap itself, you have to obtain a ticket that provides you with access once the doors open.  Tickets are handed out beginning at 7am and the doors to the swap open at 9am, with access to the swap happening in waves of 50 at a time.  Meaning, the actual time in which you had access to the swap was determined by your ticket number.

Having heard rumors of people camping out waiting for tickets like it was black Friday, combined with the thought of sweet deals lurking behind closed doors, we drug ourselves out of bed at 4:30am totally geeked like kids on Christmas.  We figured by arriving 2-hours early, we would automatically find ourselves at the beginning of the line.  Wrong.  We had around 30 or so people in front of us and later would learn that the first person in line arrived around 3:45am.
Waiting in line at T.C. Ski Swap

The 2-hour wait was not as bad as you might think.  It actually proved to be a cool experience, reminding you that everyone was there for the same reason. Discussion topics ranged from what gear should I look for, to secret backcountry stash spots in Northern Michigan.

Finally, at 7am we received our tickets and barely squeaked in at numbers 44 – 47.  Fast forward 2-hours, a game plan was assembled and we were ready to go when the doors opened at 9am.  I was looking for alpine bindings and skis for my wife, while others were off looking for wider freeride skis and race gear.  There was tons of gear to be had at the swap.  Everything from kids skis and XC gear, to snowboards and race skis.
T.C. Ski Swap 2010

I would be completely lying if I said we didn’t have success at the swap.  The gear that we took away was well worth the effort of getting up so early.  Friends snagged a sweet pair of Line Elizabeth’s (now the Sir Francis Bacon) for an extremely reasonable price, another snagged a pair of 2-year old race skis at a minimal cost, perfect for the beer league.  I personally picked up a pair of older K2’s for my wife for $20 that appeared to have been used maybe one season.  They obviously need some wax work, but should be perfect for her needs right now, and at $20 for a shaped ski, who’s complaining?
T.C. Ski Swap Snowboards
All in all, a great event, with a huge turnout.  A must attend if you’re looking for a wide variety of gear at solid prices.  Stay stoked until we recap Snowvemberfest 6.

Written by: J. Dodge