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Ski swap draws large weekend crowds

Although today is last day of this weekend’s annual Pocatello Ski Swap and Snow Expo, it marks the beginning of what some locals are calling a ‘long-anticipated’ ski season.

The three-day event was held in the Idaho State University’s Student Center and hosted by the Pocatello Ski Association, the Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group, and the Pebble Creek Race Team.

According to some ski instructors, 20 percent of the proceeds sold go toward funding each of these organizations, and for the Junior Ski Team, this fundraiser helps pay for 75 percent of the total cost to keep the group running.

“The ski swap is our main fundraiser and it allows us to keep our coaching fees low,” Pebble Creek ski coach Mike Collaer said. “And if we can keep real low coaching fees, more kids can join us and enjoy ski racing.”

Some of the volunteers mentioned this past year’s late and poor ski conditions are causing a lot of skiers to stay home and wait until the December snowfall before they come out to start purchasing their gear.

However, the Ski Swap’s organizers are saying this weekend’s attendance is the largest they have seen.

“Friday and Saturday were raging busy,” CW HOG spokesperson and Ski Swap organizer Bob Ellis said. “(We had) people constantly coming out – smiling faces,skis boots, helmets, poles, you know, whole set-up. We had a good, good selection this year.”

Even some young Race Team members came out this weekend as volunteers in order to support this event which will help them gain more funds for new equipment.

Thirteen-year-old Ethan Hull has been racing with the team for the past five years and mentioned how these funds will help repair their broken gates.

Ellis noted this expo has been going strong every year since 1961. He also says this event has raised between $2,500 to $4,000 for each of these organizations.

So unlike the poor conditions this past year, many skiers are saying they expect excellent skiing conditions this year after the early snowfalls the area has been seeing.

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