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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Ski swap place to go for bargains

Ethan Young was 5 when Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol members rescued him. He hurt his leg when he crashed on the snowy downhill slope of Mt. Spokane’s No. 3 run.

“It was cool,” Young, now 14, said. “I was sitting there and suddenly I was in this bed thing (a toboggan). Then they took me down the hill.”

“We thought he broke his leg,” his mother, Donella Young, said. “But it turned out to be a sprain.”

The Youngs, who live near Medical Lake, were at the 41st annual Mt. Spokane Ski Swap on Saturday to buy ski and snowboard equipment.

“Birthday and Christmas presents,” Donella Young said, referring to the huge pile of items she planned to buy. It was the family’s first time attending the ski swap, which benefits the Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol. The volunteer, nonprofit group patrols Mt. Spokane every winter looking for skiers and snowboarders in need of help.

The Youngs were at the event, in part, to support the ski patrol. The group’s quick response when Ethan Young was hurt on Mt. Spokane was comforting.

“I remember they used cardboard to make a splint,” the 14-year-old boy said.

“It’s a good service that they do,” his mom added.

The two-day event at Spokane County Fair and Expo Center continues today.

“The proceeds go to purchase first aid and medical gear such as oxygen, defibrillators and toboggans,” Ski Patrol Director Bill Melvin said.

Hundreds of snow sports enthusiasts waited in line for nearly 30 minutes to purchase their bargain finds.

The skis, snowboards, bindings, jackets, goggles and gloves covered thousands of square feet inside the expo center. The items came from sporting goods retailers and area residents hoping to make a little money by trading their used equipment, which is sold on a consignment basis. The Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol takes 16 percent for its operation.

Dick Armstrong and his wife, Ann, said that in addition to supporting the patrol, the ski swap was also a good way to buy equipment for their growing son.

“For us, skiing is a family sport,” Dick Armstrong, a 54-year-old Spokane resident, said. “It’s fun to be out here amongst the mountain crowd.”

The Mt. Spokane Ski Swap represents the kickoff of the ski season for many Spokane area residents. But this year, the event will have to sustain them for a while.

“We aren’t really seeing snow in the forecast yet,” National Weather Service meteorologist Robin Fox said. “It’s not in the horizon.”

It typically snows around Thanksgiving in Spokane, Fox said. According to weather records, the latest the white stuff has arrived is Dec. 17.

“The next two weeks are forecast above normal,” Fox said. “If we stay in this warm weather pattern, it’s going to be tough to get snow.”

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