Kay Merriam

Kay Merriam

Beautifully colored leaves are beginning to drop to the ground and outdoor temperature is noticeably cooler. Together, these are telling us that winter might be on its way. Now is the time to focus on winter sport equipment so we can be ready for Idaho’s best winter activities including downhill skiing, snowboarding and Nordic skiing.

First, check your equipment to make sure it is still in top-notch condition; make sure members of your family have the necessary equipment and have not grown out of last year’s equipment. Then start planning how you will enjoy winter in Idaho by making use of the sports that fit the season.

The Pocatello Ski Swap, an outstanding event, is coming on Nov. 2 and 3. Not only is the quality of its offerings super, but the help you can receive from the staff and sales persons is first rate.

The event will take place in the ISU Student Union Ball Room on Nov. 2 from 6 to 10 p.m and Nov. 3 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you want to come early on Nov. 2, the cost will be $10. Otherwise it will be $2.

On Nov. 3, Warren Miller’s top-notch movie "Face of Winter" can be seen at the Bengal Theater.

Sponsors of the event include the ISU Cooperative Wilderness Organization, Handicapped Outdoor Group, Pocatello Ski Association, Pebble Creek Junior Race Team and the Pebble Creek Ski Patrol. Proceeds from the Ski Swap will be divided among these groups.

If you have equipment to sell, be sure to come to the Ball Room through the Bengal Theatre entrance on Nov. 1 between 4 and 8 p.m. or Nov. 2 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are coming to browse and or buy equipment, enter through the large doors at the side of the Ball Room closest to the main entrance.

It makes no difference if you are an experienced skier or a beginner: you can find what you need at the Pocatello SkiSwap. It also makes no difference whether you are interested in equipment for downhill, snow board or Nordic skiing.

All necessary items are available and can be purchased at about half the rate for new equipment. While looking for equipment, also remember to fit yourself with jackets, ski pants, gloves, snug caps and socks. Further, don’t forget dark glasses so you can see where you are going when out in the snow.

If you moved to Pocatello recently, you may be unsettled as to what types of equipment to purchase. One type of skiing calls for going up the mountain on a lift and then down on your skis.

Lifts can be expensive, but they get you to the top much faster than trudging up on your skis. Then the fun begins as you make your way down either by going over or around moguls or just heading straight down if you are into high-speed thrills and sometimes unplanned spills.

Nordic skiing uses entirely different equipment. The edges of the skis are not lined with metal and your heels are able to move up easily as you go forward. It is fun and adventuresome to take a trail back into the less-crowded runs. You can slide or skate ski and even go down a slope using telemark turns.

If you like to ski on untouched snow, see different slopes and perhaps camp in the snow, Nordic skiing is fun and easily learned. It is quiet, adventurous, and sometimes challenging when it comes to returning without following the trails you made going out.

Regardless of whether you want thrills, natural beauty, adventure, technique challenges, or just a quiet day in the beauty of winter outdoor scenes, you can get an excellent start by stopping first at the Ski Swap.

After that, it also helps to take a lesson or two (or three) before you tackle the slopes at the Pebble Creek Ski Area or the Nordic area up toward Scout Mountain.

The Nordic area does give lessons and has relatively flat trails to help you become more at ease with skis. However you want to get out into the snow, the Pocatello Ski Swap should be your first stop. Just remember that items go fast, so don’t wait until the last minute to check it out.

Kay Merriam of Pocatello has a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She was the president of the state League of Women Voters for two years and president of the Pocatello chapter for two years as well. She was the president of the Bannock County Planning and Zoning Committee for 11 years and on the Pocatello-Chubbuck District 25 School Board for six years.