MSEF ski swap gets bigger every year

The unofficial start of the winter ski season kicks off next weekend in Southern Oregon when the Medford Ski Education Foundation holds its annual Ski and Snowboard Swap.

The event is set for Nov. 15-17, in the multipurpose room at St. Mary's School, 816 Black Oak Drive, Medford.

Several large merchants will offer deals on new and used ski and snowboarding equipment. They will operate alongside private-party sellers looking for some extra holiday cash or an equipment upgrade.

The annual swap is a way to recycle usable gear, and it's popular among families whose young athletes can grow out of their gear almost annually. The event has grown every year, organizers say.

"The demand for this type of discounted merchandise is greater than it was a few years ago," says Ron Johnson, MSEF's swap meet coordinator. "But also, we've worked hard at turning a nice little ski swap into something big."

It has also grown out of necessity.

In 2009, competitive skiing at Medford high schools was dying out because the cost of putting on the program — including insurance — was rising and pricing many families out. Schools had no money to support high-school skiing.

Proceeds from the swap event now pay for about 60 percent of the total cost for a family to put their high school child in the skiing program, Johnson says.

The ski swap started as a small endeavor, Johnson says. In 2008, the event entailed a couple hundred items for sale in the corner of the North Medford High School cafeteria. Hustling volunteers and better publicity has helped the swap grow exponentially since then, Johnson says.

"We'll have between 2,000 and 2,500 pieces of merchandise on sale this year," he says.

People who have used snowboards, skis, boots, helmets and clothing they'd like to sell must check the equipment in prior to the event during a merchant registration from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13, and Thursday, Nov. 14. New this year, registration will be at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 772 Black Oak Drive, next to St. Mary's School.

An early-bird sale will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15. Admission that day will cost $5 per person. Kids 12 and younger get in free.

"We end up doing half our weekend sales in that three-hour period," Johnson says. "We had 400 to 500 people there last year, and we expect more this year if the trend continues.

"If you get there at 7 p.m., though, you'll be in a long line," he says. "People get there at 4:30 and start getting in line.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, the sale will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission that day will cost $3 per person.

A closeout sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, with free admission and all merchandise on the floor discounted up to 50 percent.

MSEF is a nonprofit foundation that works to make competitive skiing available for high-school students in Jackson and Josephine counties. Participants range from casual skiers to athletes looking to qualify for the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association's State High School Championships.

The annual swap event is the foundation's largest fundraiser of the year.

Coaches and team members will be available throughout the weekend to answer questions from student athletes interested in joining the program.

Details for buyers and sellers can be seen on the MSEF website at or

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or

Share This Story