Ski patrol starts season with ski swap Saturday

This weekend the Kimberley Volunteer Ski Patrol is holding its annual ski swap.

This weekend the Kimberley Volunteer Ski Patrol is holding its annual ski swap, which offers a chance to get rid of unused gear and find a new pair of skis, snowboard or other equipment.

The ski swap is happening on Saturday, Nov. 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the old fire hall in Cranbrook’s downtown.

The swap will take any kind of gear.

“We’ve got cross-country gear, downhill gear, snowboards,” said Mike Daigle, president of the Kimberley Volunteer Ski Patrol Society. “We’re trying to expand into any kind of gear people want to bring by and try to sell off. It doesn’t have to be just ski and snowboard type stuff. Someone talked about bringing their kayak by.”

Drop-off, if you have equipment to sell, is this Friday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. or Saturday morning from 8 to 9 a.m. The society charges a $5 fee per item, up to a maximum of $20, and then 20 per cent of the selling price if it sells.  Unsold gear can be picked up from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

The funds that the society raises from the ski swap will be used to pay for training, equipment and other expenses. The ski patrol is a volunteer non-profit society.

“We have all 21 members to help out and run the whole thing,” Daigle said. “We’re always trying to find the best location for people to access it. This year it’s at the old fire hall.”

In past years the swap has been held at Bridge Interiors, the Tamarack Centre, the Ktunaxa Gym, and before that it was held in Kimberley.

The ski patrol operates year round in some form and works on other events such as first aid at the Triathlon in Wasa and the Gran Fondo.

The ski swap is one the patrol’s bigger events and Daigle said it takes a lot of effort from the group to put together.

“We have to get the right space, and get enough advertising out there. I think we have about 100 posters up around Cranbrook, Kimberley, Fernie and Invermere,” he said.

Daigle said the society likes running the event as it helps people get good deals on ski stuff.

This year Tim Hortons will be providing donuts and coffee. Staples helped out with printing posters for the event.

“We try to get the corporate people involved as well, so we try to get all the ski shops to bring stuff down if they want or if they want to get rid of their older stock,” he said.

This year there will even be a guy who travels to ski swaps in the region, reportedly bringing 400 items.

As for the ski patrol itself, Daigle said they are always interested in having qualified, interested people join up. The ski hill sets the required training standards for volunteer ski patrol members. In the first year, Level 1 First Aid with a Transportation Endorsement is necessary. In the second year, people have to get a higher level course in non-urban outdoor emergency care. It is a two-week course.

For those who have done the training before, there is a four day challenge available.

The volunteer patrol works most weekends at the hill.

“We’re trying to provide one person per day on the weekdays now.”