Midcoast winter sports enthusiasts have a few more weeks to wait before they can hit the slopes, but those in the market for fresh gear have a chance to score a bargain this weekend.

The Brunswick Parks & Recreation Department will host its 55th annual Ski & Skate Sale from 1-4 p.m. this Sunday, Nov. 6, one day after Freeport Area Ski Teams hosts its own ski swap event at the Freeport High School gymnasium from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“It’s still pretty nice out for November, but winter is coming,” said Sabrina Best, deputy director of Brunswick Parks & Rec. “We have such a large population in this community and, obviously, in the state that can’t wait to get out and recreate in snow or on the ice.”

Ski swaps offer both bunny slopers and black diamond pros a great opportunity to prepare for a season of frigid thrills, Best said. Retailers like Rockland’s Ski Country Sports and Andover’s Akers Skis will offer new, high-end gear at Brunswick’s swap, while residents looking to clear out their garages can sell everything from ancient hockey gloves to outgrown youth figure skates.

Visitors should expect a healthy dose of controlled chaos, especially at the start of the swaps when buyers race to scoop up the year’s best bargains, according to Freeport Ski Boosters Co-president Matt St. Cyr. But they will also discover a community atmosphere, as mountain veterans use their expertise to help outfit newcomers, especially kids.

“The culture of the family showing up is really pretty warming,” St. Cyr said. “I kind of always look at it like we’re doing a little bit of a service to the community.”


While some of Maine’s dozen or so annual ski swaps were interrupted by the pandemic, COVID concerns sparked a surge of new skiers, according to Dale Rodgers, manager of Rodgers Ski & Sport’s Scarborough branch. He said his sales are up 15%-20% since 2019.

“More people are getting into the sport just because they want to get outside and forget about COVID,” said Rodgers, who will bring about 300 items to Brunswick’s sale. “They like to get out and get some exercise instead of being locked up inside the house.”

Those interested in selling winter gear at Brunswick’s swap should drop off their items at the rec center between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday, according to the event website. Sellers can pick up their profit and unsold items from noon to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 or from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 19.

Midcoast residents looking to support Freeport’s middle and high school ski teams can drop off their lightly used gear at the Freeport High School gym between 5 and 8 p.m. on Friday. Unsold items should be picked up directly after Saturday’s event, and checks for successful sales will go out the following week.

A portion of the profits from each sale will fund the host organizations. But in addition to supporting Brunswick Parks & Rec programming or helping to buy a speed suit for a Freeport youth skier, the decision to stop by a swap might also replace some of your winter dread with excitement.

“If you’re going to live someplace where it’s cold, you’ve got to find something to do,” St. Cyr said. “It’s nice to get the kids addicted to playing outside.”

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