It’s Not Always About ‘Need’

By David Potter

This is great time of the year. You can watch football and baseball on TV. College basketball practices have started. The hockey season is about to begin. You can go for long drive to look at the changing leaves. And it’s time for the Ellicottville Fall Festival.

Fall Festival is more than a time to travel to Ellicottville to socialize. It’s also a good time to take inventory of your winter sports gear. Whether you board, ski downhill or cross-country now is a good time sell your old gear and/or purchase new gear.

Go ahead and grab your gear from hot attics, damp garages and basements, or under the tonneau of your truck (yes, a friend actually does this, even though I’ve warned him not to!) and check it for signs of wear and tear, as well as fit.

If you have used gear to sell, the Holiday Valley Fall Fest Ski Swap is a good option (www. You can drop off your used skis, snowboards or boots to Holiday Valley between 4–8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10 or 9 a.m.–noon on Saturday, Oct. 11. You can price it however you wish, but if you’re unsure how much to charge, there will be knowledgeable people there to help advise you. The Valley takes a small percentage of the sale price to help the junior race teams. The swap is open to the public for purchases from 4–8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.–2 p.m. on Sunday.

How do you know if you actually need new equipment?

Did you last buy winter gear in the ‘90s? Do people in the lift line point to your gear and then say to their companion, “I remember when I had those back in high school”? Are your gloves more duct tape than black leather? Do your ski poles have more bends than a backcountry road? Does your ski apparel look like something you could wear to a ‘70s disco? Do your bindings say Cubco?  If you can answer yes to any of these questions, then it might be time to invest.

Where should I buy my new stuff?

The above-mention ski swap is a good place to start if your budget only allows for used pricing. The same people who will help you determine what your old gear is worth will be just as happy to point you in the right direction with a purchase.

When my kids were young and growing, the ski swap was where we stocked up for the upcoming season. In the village, there will be tent sales along with the excellent ski shops that carry hard goods (skis, boards and boots) and soft goods (everything else). Whether you go to the tent sales or the great shops in the village, you will find experienced sales people who know their products and great deals, especially Fall Festival weekend. I bought my current favorite pair of skis during Fall Festival last year. I didn’t really “need” new skis, but I saw a pair of new skis at a price that I really couldn’t refuse. Besides, skiers and boarders know it’s not all about “need.” So, go ahead and treat yourself!

What brand, style, model should I buy?

As I have been pointing out, every location will have people willing to listen to your needs and price range. Don’t be surprised if they point you in a different direction or even to a different location! Everyone plays well together here. Just remember that every skier and boarder has different needs. Cheap doesn’t mean bad, just as expensive isn’t always good. The trick is to find the gear and fit at a price that is right for you.

So if you wish to sell your old gear, want to buy new or new-to-you gear, head to Ellicottville this weekend. Even if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for, I guarantee you’ll have a great time looking.