Red Mountain Racers Ski Swap continues a legacy of success

Hundreds of local ski buffs descended on the Willi Krause Field House Saturday to take advantage of the great deals at the annual ski swap.

Hundreds of local ski buffs descended on the Willi Krause Field House Saturday to take advantage of the great deals at the Red Mountain Racers annual ski swap.

The RMR Ski Swap takes skiers’ used and outgrown gear, and turns it into perfectly serviceable equipment for other enthusiasts, while helping the RMR get a positive fiscal jump on another racing season.

“We did very well, we raised approximately $11,000 for the club, which is fantastic,” said ski swap organizer and RMR president Christine Andison. “We are absolutely delighted.”

According to long-time Trail resident and ski-swap catalyst Rino DeBiasio, the Red Mountain Ski Patrol started the swap back in the late 60s as a way to raise funds to buy first-aid supplies and other equipment for the ski hill.

“It must have started in 1966 or ‘67, we were down in Spokane, because we use to correspond with the ski patrol down in Spokane, and we happened to be down there the weekend they had the ski swap,” said DeBiasio, a perennial ski-patrol member. “And I said, ‘Holy man, we should do something up here.’ And that’s how we started it.”

With the assistance of the Spokane ski patrol, their counterparts at Red were able to kick off a very successful event that financed the volunteer ski patrol for over 20 years.

The Red Mountain Ski Patrol members held the swap at various venues including the old Boy Scout Hall,  the Trail Armouries, and eventually the Field House until 1990 when they the passed the torch to the RMR.

“We helped them out the first few years, but after that it just took hold,” said DeBiasio, who continues to volunteer at the swap. “They’ve been doing a heck of a job since.”

At noon Saturday, the ski swap opened with a bang, as swap-goers raced to the doors to cash in on deals.

“There were hundreds of people lined up to get in, and when the gates were opened, it was phenomenal; they were literally sprinting to the ski racks,” said Andison. “So that was a very unique and new feature of the swap.”

Despite the buying frenzy, the swap is a well-organized, seamless affair, with about 60 volunteers up bright and early to receive and help price the saleable items, set up the ski racks, then take to the floor to assist customers, or help with checking in and checking out. Not to mention the parking lot assistants that somehow managed to accommodate hundreds of vehicles.

“Being that the swap has been running for so many years . . . we’re really fortunate that some of the previous organizers were really great about writing down all the key components to the swap,” Andison explained.

“Every year we try to build on that, and we do review what was working well and what wasn’t, and try to improve it for the following year, but in general it is a fairly well-oiled machine.”

While the funds raised were once integral to maintaining the ski patrol at Red and safety of its skiers, the sale of the hill to the ‘Skat’ ownership group in 1989 meant the ski patrol would be funded by the hill and no longer needed the swap resources, and so RMR took control of the fundraiser.

Today, the proceeds from the swap go directly to RMR coaching in order to keep the skiers’ fees reasonable, while providing one of Canada’s best downhill skiing training facilities.

Ultimately, after almost 50 years, the Red Mountain Racers carry on the ski patrol’s legacy, and through the ski swap continue to help young and experienced skiers hit the slopes, both competitively and recreationally.

“It was a great day,” added Andison. “A full day for sure, but it’s a fun day.”

Red Mountain Racers start their season on Nov. 15 at the Legacy Training Centre at Red. For more information on the RMR go to

Just Posted

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

“This is very costly to replace and it seems that Rossland is getting more and more theft and vandalism happening, which is really unfortunate,” says the commission’s Michelle Fairbanks. Photo: Submitted
Two plaques stolen from Rossland heritage square

The plaques were located at Washington and Columbia by the Olaus statue

No matter your age, the city’s two skate park hosts Jaryd Justice-Moote (left) and Brenden Wright can help you roll into a new pastime this “Summer at the Skatepark.” Photo: City of Trail
Free coaching at the Trail Sk8Park begins next month

The city is rolling into a summer of inclusive recreation by, for… Continue reading

Pastor Tom Kline
‘Why I became a Christian’ with Pastor Tom Kline

That night, a peace came over my heart that has remained from that day to this, 36 years later.

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters block Castlegar’s main street for 24 hours

Members of Extinction Rebellion stayed overnight in downtown Castlegar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read