Sometimes winter creeps in slowly. The temperatures gradually drop, we pull out our hoodies and beanies, only to find ourselves sweating out another indian summer. Fall turns into a battle of the seasons, instead of a steady decline. But this year, it seems to have happened all at once.
It’s 10 till 6 on Saturday morning and Re Wikstrom and I pull up in the dark. The parking lot is already busy, and last years skis, goggles, and outerwear are laid out on display. Some people are still arranging their tables, bundled in puffy coats and beanies despite the 50 degree weather. It’s supposed to snow, NOAA said so, and everyone looks like they are ready for the storm to hit.
Re and I may have gotten here early, but the parking lot is already full of people chatting about the upcoming season, and eyeing the goods. Some people brought out tables, camp chairs and thermoses, but Re and I? We did it in style. Tables, clothing racks, lights, camp chairs, hot chocolate, baileys, cookies; seriously, what better way to get people to your rig than cookies?
My favorite part about ski swaps, however, isn’t the amped excitement in the air, seeing familiar faces or sharing stories from last year; it’s sharing the pieces that made your previous season. The night before the Black Diamond swap, Re and I were six batches of cookies deep, surrounded by gear on Re’s living room floor. The conundrum: Re’s four year old brown Bonfire puffy. “I just don’t know if I can get rid of it. It’s just so warm, and comfy, and I loved it so much.”
“But Re, when was the last time you wore it?”
“Hm, probably two seasons ago. Ok, ok, I’ll put it in the box.” She faced a similar conundrum with a purple, sparkly, pompom beanie five minutes later. “But I was just starting to like this hat!” It was the last item to go into the box. But when people started coming to our rig and checking out her gear, it was the old, brown, Bonfire jacket that attracted immediate attention. Same with the purple, sparkly, pompom hat. While a new season means new gear for some of us, half of the fun is sharing old gear with new people. Yes, these skis may be used, but can I please tell you how many times I found myself giggling as I skated back towards the Wildcat lift, or how I professed love at first turn?
The BD sale came to an early end this year. The cold crept in as the sun rose, and by 10:30, it was pouring rain in SLC. A couple dedicated sellers held out until their jackets seeped with the storm, but as Re and I pulled out of the parking lot and towards hot breakfast, the clouds pulled back for just a minute to reveal the first coating of snow on the Oquirrh. Winter is here.
Photos by Re Wikstrom