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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane ski swap draws long line of customers as other swaps get canceled by pandemic

Connie Naresh, of Spokane, carries ski items belonging to her son, Jackson, into the Spokane Ski and Snowboard Expo ski swap, Friday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2021 at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. Connie said Jackson needs new stuff.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Connie Naresh, of Spokane, carries ski items belonging to her son, Jackson, into the Spokane Ski and Snowboard Expo ski swap, Friday afternoon, Oct. 29, 2021 at the Spokane County Fair & Expo Center. Connie said Jackson needs new stuff. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

Well over 100 people were standing or sitting in line Friday afternoon to get “first pick” at the Spokane area’s largest ski swap.

Several area ski swaps, including the annual Mt. Spokane Ski Patrol swap, were canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Spokane Ski and Snowboard Expo at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center is filling the gap.

Tim Ochoa, of Coeur d’Alene, and his 12-year-old son, Carter, arrived 1 hour and 45 minutes before the doors opened at 4 p.m. Friday, giving off an early Black Friday feel. Ochoa and his son were first in line, sitting in beach chairs they brought with them.

Tim Ochoa said they have gone to several ski swaps in the past and they can get a little crazy, so they decided to arrive early.

“A lot of the products go pretty quick because there’s pretty good deals and so I think if you’re early you can kind of spot that out and try and get the best deal,” he said.

Tim Ochoa said he planned to buy new skis for Carter, boots and perhaps skis for his wife.

Almost 60 people were in line at 3:30 p.m. Friday and that number more than doubled to 125 people 15 minutes later. The line to the building stretched well into the parking lot.

“I thought there’d be more people actually,” Tim Ochoa said.

Braelyn McManus and Zech Mallah, both 18-year-old college students, arrived about one and a half hours early and were rewarded by being one of the first in line.

“I need skis so that’s why I’m here, and I’m a teenager and I’m broke,” said McManus, who tried snowboarding without success last year and switched to skiing.

She said her father and brother arrived two hours early in past years and he recommended she go early as well.

Mallah said he was on the lookout for snowboarding equipment like a jacket, helmet, goggles and boots.

Dale Roberts, organizer of the swap, said he hoped 2,000 customers showed up each day.

The Spokane Ski and Snowboard Expo continues 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.

Expo tickets cost $5 for anyone 12 and older. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the local food bank, Roberts said.

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