Ryan Freeberg/Nevada Sagebrush. Set of skis for sale at the UNR Ski Swap on Saturday 21, 2019. The Ski Swap is the largest fundraiser the Winter Sports club hosts annually.

The Nevada Winter Sports Club held its annual fundraising event—the UNR Ski Swap—over the weekend. 

Held annually, the Ski Swap is the largest fundraising event that the Winter Sports club hosts. This year’s event was held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center from Sept. 20-22. Sponsors of this year’s event included Ski Pro, Subaru, Media Access Group, GMAA Group and the UNR Ski Team Boosters.

The Ski Swap has been an annual event of the ski team for years. Originally held in Lawlor Events Center, the event has moved venues several times with stints at the Reno Livestock Events Center prior to the swap’s current home. 

Newly-appointed head coach of the UNR Alpine ski team, Chad Ewoldt, was on the team when the Ski Swap was still held at the RLEC.

“It was much more chaotic than it is now, much smoother operation now than it was back then, Ewoldt said. “It was our bread and butter, and it was what we based our season on to exist.”

Ewoldt skied for Nevada from 1993-96, helping the team to win two national titles during that time. 

The event is a chance for the club to cover their yearly budget, as the expenses involved with winter sports—ski passes, gear, travel and so on—can add up fast. The Winter Sports club gets 25 percent of all sales made at the event, with the remainder going to the seller. 

The club—as well as every other club sport—receives $6,000 in funding from the Associated Students of the University of Nevada. Without this fundraiser, budgeting for the entire club would be nearly impossible. 

Lorena Beck, a director on the UNR booster group, volunteered at the swap to help the team. 

Beck, a former faculty member at Nevada, has worked with the club prior to its days as a club sport, first working with the team in the mid-80s. 

Beck views the Ski Swap as a crucial fundraiser for the team’s financial success.  

“The UNR ski team has an incredible amount of expenditures to put a team on the snow,” Beck said. “So in order to limit the liability of the individual skier to provide this revenue—this funding—we run the Ski Swap as one of our major sources of revenue for the year.”

Patrons of the event are able to purchase gear from a variety of brands including Head, Zero and Salomon. Visitors are also permitted to sell their own lightly used gear at the event, but all items sold need to be registered with the club prior to the Ski Swap.

Tables and racks line room one of the event center, displaying winter items. Skis, socks, boots, jackets, shells, ski bags, gloves, ski masks, bindings and snowboards can be found on any number of these displays. Visitors pick through the items while volunteers—many of whom are members of the Winter Sports club—help shoppers find the right fit. 

When the event opened on Friday, Winter Sports club president, James Henderson, estimated 200 plus people were lined up to have first dibs on the fresh winter gear. 

Now that the Ski Swap is in the books, the club can begin preparations for the season. A point not lost of Coach Ewoldt.

“This is a staple in this town, and this is what gets people fired up in the community for the ski season but it gets us going too,” Ewoldt said. “We know once this is getting close, it’s time to put the head down and get ready for the season.”

It won’t be long now before Mt. Rose and Squaw are filled with snow, and the club is racing down the slopes.

Ryan Freeberg can be reached at rfreeberg@sagebrush.unr.edu and on Twitter @SagebrushSports.