Spokane ski swap draws long line of customers as other swaps get canceled by pandemic

<p><p>Well over 100 people were standing or sitting in line Friday afternoon to get “first pick” at the Spokane area’s largest ski swap.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>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. </p></p><p><p>“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.</p></p><p><p>Tim Ochoa said he planned to buy new skis for Carter, boots and perhaps skis for his wife.</p></p><p><p>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.</p></p><p><p>“I thought there’d be more people actually,” Tim Ochoa said.</p></p><p><p> 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.</p></p><p><p>“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.</p></p><p><p>She said her father and brother arrived two hours early in past years and he recommended she go early as well.</p></p><p><p>Mallah said he was on the lookout for snowboarding equipment like a jacket, helmet, goggles and boots.</p></p><p><p>Dale Roberts, organizer of the swap, said he hoped 2,000 customers showed up each day.</p></p><p><p>The Spokane Ski and Snowboard Expo continues 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. today at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center.</p></p><p><p>Expo tickets cost $5 for anyone 12 and older. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the local food bank, Roberts said.</p></p>