Winter sports enthusiasts gear up for season at Tussey Mountain Ski Swap

When the doors to The Lodge at Tussey Mountain Ski Area opened at 6 p.m. Friday, a swarm of people flocked inside looking for deals on winter sports equipment.

A line formed about an hour before the start of Tussey Mountain’s 26th annual Ski Swap — a weekend blowout that allows people to trade in or buy new and used ski and snowboard equipment and accessories before the resort officially opens next month.

Mount Nittany Middle School student Aidan Barney, 14, was one of the first people waiting. Walking in, he found the one thing he needed: new ski boots.

“They’re perfect and they’re cheap for mom to pay,” he said.

The resort receives 20 percent of each sale, with the rest going to the seller, said Aaron Weyman, director of marketing. At the end of the weekend, the ski lodge expects owners to pick up unsold items.

Weyman said that about 1,000 people are expected to show up throughout the three-day event.

“It’s a cool thing people look forward to,” he said. “Winter sports like this can be expensive, especially with young kids who outgrow their equipment, so this consignment-type sale won’t put too much of a dent in peoples’ wallets when they’re buying equipment every year.”

Ski enthusiast Matthew Cory, of Harris Township, and his 8-year-old son, Jordan Cory, were thrilled when they woke up to see a few flurries Friday morning.

“We’re big skiers, so when we saw that, it was awesome,” Matthew Cory said. “We only wish now that it would stick.”

Cory takes his family to Tussey’s Ski Swap each year. He left with a pair of men’s ski boots and a new pair of skis for Jordan. The total came to about $150. If new, it would have cost about $500.

“The kids are always growing and growing of their stuff,” he said. “Why pay full price when this is just as good for the year?”

Some remaining skis are donated to John Conroy, a local who makes Adirondack chairs out of old skis, said Sue Matalavage, office manager.

“We’ve been working with him for about three years,” Matalavage said. “I’d almost rather donate the items to be put to good use than toss them.”