POCATELLO — When local skiers buy their gear each winter at the annual Pocatello Ski Swap/Snow Expo, part of what they spend goes to introduce local youths to skiing and ski racing.

    Liz Benson, president of the Pocatello Ski Association, explained that her organization makes a good portion of its annual operating expenses from the event and uses the funding to cover operational costs for events such as the Stacy Smith Fun Races. The race series introduces youths to ski racing.

    “We give everybody a medal and sometimes cookies,” Benson said. “It gives them an opportunity to practice their skills.”

    This year’s ski swap is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the ISU Pond Student Union ballroom. The Cooperative Wilderness Handicapped Outdoor Group, the Pebble Creek Junior Race Team and the Pebble Creek Ski Patrol also receive a portion of the funds from the event.

    Benson explained the Ski Association also uses the funds to subsidize buses for youth day trips to places such as Sun Valley, Grand Targhee, Snow Basin, Powder Mountain and Jackson Hole.

    Bob Ellis, outdoor recreation coordinator with C.W. Hog, said last year’s event earned about $4,000 for C.W. Hog, the Ski Association and the Pebble Creek Junior Race Team. He said about $1,000 was also raised for Ski Patrol.

    Hours of the swap will be Friday from 6-10 p.m., with an early bird rate of $10 at the door before 7 p.m. on Friday. The rest of the night Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday the admission is $2. Sunday admission is free. In addition to the cover, 20 percent of sales goes to the charities.

    “It’s a great way to get good equipment at an affordable rate, especially with the economy the way it is,” said Ellis, who plans to stock up on gear for his 6-year-old at the swap.

    People interested in selling some of their personal gear will have from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday and from noon to 5 p.m. Friday to check in their gear by the Cesar Chavez entrance to the ballroom.

    Local vendors including Scott’s Ski & Sports, Ace Hardware and Surfs Up will have merchandise available.

    “We’ve been working with a vendor out of Twin Falls,” Ellis added. “There’s pretty much some good equipment all the way through the ski swap.”

    Ellis said the old-fashioned straight skis won’t be taken this year — aside from cross country gear. Snowshoes, hats, gloves, clothing and other winter gear will also be sold.

    Pebble Creek Ski Area will be on hand to take photographs for season passes and to sell passes. Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee will be represented, too. Ellis said Targhee has a special student rate it intends to offer.

    This year, the annual C.W. Hog showing of the year’s new Warren Miller ski film, “Wintervention,” won’t take place during the same weekend as the swap due to a conflict with Halloween. Instead, the film will be shown in the Bengal Theater at 1 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. on Nov. 6. Tickets are $9 in advance and $11 at the door, with a discount rate of $7 for the matinee.   

    Just in time to raise excitement about the ski season, Ellis noted colder weather arrived on Monday. The long-term weather prospects also look good, Ellis said.

    “They’re saying it’s a La Nina year. Supposedly that’s a good thing for us,” Ellis said.