On November 1, 2023

Preparing for winter: Okemo swap is around the corner 


By Karen D. Lorentz 

With cooler temperatures and leaves falling, skiers and snowboarders know winter is just around the corner. But before the snow arrives and the lifts spin, you’ve got to make sure you’re ready! Do you have your pass, equipment and layers? There’s still time and Okemo will host its ski and snowboard swap Nov. 17-19 at the Jackson Gore Base Area. It’s a great time to find deals on skis, snowboards, boots, poles, clothing, and other winter gear like snowshoes, cross-country skis, and ice skates, noted Okemo Mountain School’s Head of School Mariel Meringolo. Children’s gear “goes fast,” she said.

You can donate equipment or place it on consignment, but it should be no older than 7 to 10 years and in good working condition, Meringolo noted. All donations are tax deductible, including the 25% of sale consignments which go to OMS. 

 Swap items drop-off times are 10 – 3 p.m., Nov. 11, 12 and 15 at the Jackson Gore Round House. If items don’t sell, people can pick them up or leave for donation to a non-profit PTA. 

Swap hours are: 4-7 p.m. Friday, 9-5 p.m. Saturday, and 9-1 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds go to OMS’ operating costs to keep tuition as affordable as possible for all students. (The Swap raised a record $37,000 last year.) 

Swinging closer to winter, “Okemo will be firing up the snowguns when Mother Nature gives us her blessing. The ideal temperature is 28 degrees and 50% relative humidity for efficient snowmaking. We’ll announce the opening date when we’re sure of it a week in advance,” spokesperson Joe Healy said, adding that Okemo’s website, social media, and passholder communications will keep people updated. 

With an El Nino winter forecast, Okemo may see lots of snow from the sky, but regardless, the snowmaking team can fill in for Mother Nature with one of the largest snowmaking systems in the East and a 150-million-gallon snowmaking pond to withdraw water from.

Although Ludlow saw July flooding, the mountain returned to full summer operations three weeks later, and “Okemo looks forward to winter operations as usual,” Healy added.

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