A little snow on the mountains last week was all it took for Whistler residents to shift gears from summer to winter, and start thinking about skiing and snowboarding.
That thinking usually turns to Thanksgiving weekend and the annual tradition of the Turkey Sale. Pretty much everything is for sale, but the real draw is on unsold gear from last season that gets liquidated at a substantial discount.
Whistler Blackcomb, which owns several retailers in town, is once again hosting the main event at the Blackcomb Daylodge. The sale runs from Oct. 9 to 12 with discounts of up to 70 per cent off goggles, hats, skis, snowboards and other items.
The doors open on Friday, Oct. 9 from noon to 9 p.m., then from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Monday's sale runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Next door to the daylodge, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club is hosting its annual Ski SWAP (Sale With Awesome Prices) tent, and inviting people to buy and sell used skis, snowboards and gear to benefit the club.
The SWAP raises about $50,000 each year to subsidize WMSC programs, but organizer Dennis Perry is hoping to exceed that this year.
"(The money) helps subsidize juvenile ski racing, to bring the cost down and make it available to the entire spectrum of kids from an economic standpoint," he said. "In other words, we don't want anybody not to ski race because they don't have the money. It's a wonderful sport."
The WMSC is one of the organizations affected by provincial cuts to grant programs, and will only receive about 20 per cent of what they usually receive under B.C. Lotteries Direct Access Gaming Grants. The club is counting on a strong swap to help make up the difference.
The details of the swap will be similar to other years, but Perry believes the event should be able to give the resort an idea how the Olympics will affect business.
"This is the real start to the ski season for a lot of people, and a big turnout at the swap could indicate that it will be a big ski year for everybody," he said. "There is a mistaken message out there beyond B.C. that maybe the mountains aren't open to ski, and we know that's not true."
The cost to sell items at the swap is $3 per tag, plus 20 per cent commission on sold items. Drop-off starts at 3 p.m. on Friday and runs until 1 p.m. on Saturday. You can pick up unsold items after 1 p.m. on Saturday, before 3 p.m. Sunday. All unsold items will be considered donations to the Whistler Mountain Ski Club.
The swap runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday. The final blow-out sale is from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Monday.
Other Turkey Sales will also be taking place at retail stores throughout Whistler Village throughout the Thanksgiving long weekend. Check the ads to see what's available, or just take a stroll through the village.