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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Annual swap offers deals for ski bunnies

By DON HIMSEL
Staff Writer

The big-name retailers on the Daniel Webster Highway and Amherst Street weren't the only shopping attraction the day after Thanksgiving, as the annual ski and skate swap held at Nashua High School South saw big crowds prepping for the winter season.

With visions of snow-covered slopes dancing in their heads, shoppers steady as the rain outside the gymnasium flowed into the school to look over the racks and rows of new and used gear as the three-day event got into full swing Friday. ...

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The big-name retailers on the Daniel Webster Highway and Amherst Street weren't the only shopping attraction the day after Thanksgiving, as the annual ski and skate swap held at Nashua High School South saw big crowds prepping for the winter season.

With visions of snow-covered slopes dancing in their heads, shoppers steady as the rain outside the gymnasium flowed into the school to look over the racks and rows of new and used gear as the three-day event got into full swing Friday.

The yearly gathering of the downhill faithful is a fundraiser and charity event operated by the Hollis Brookline Athletic Boosters Club, with help from area athletes and former Nashua Exchange Club members. The $1 per-item registration fee gathered through the used gear swap will be directed to Marguerite's Place and students at Amherst Street Elementary School who may be in need of new shoes through a program with Alec's Shoes in Nashua.

Inside the school's gymnasium, vertical racks were filled with skis and snowboards, bins bristled with ski poles and racks held pairs of ski boots. Hats, scarves, helmets and other accessories rounded out the shopping bonanza.

"The line's been busy. There's some great bargains," said coordinator and club member Dave Belanger. "It's a good, steady crowd."

Shawn Proulx, a shopper from Pepperell, Mass., brought his whole family Saturday.

"We've been coming here for three or four years," Proulx said. He kept his hands on a stroller with his son Sky inside while his wife, Kendra, helped their 4-year-old daughter Sofie fit a pair of ski boots.

The big attraction for the Proulx family, like many others, was the big selection for what can be a pricey venture.

"We don't want to go out and spend a ton of money," Proulx added. "They grow so fast, they grow right out of the equipment pretty quickly."

Both Proulx and his wife have skied since they themselves were kids. Kendra took the sport up a notch by competing for Hollis Brookline High School and a team at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.

"We're hoping to get him on skis," she said, gesturing to their just over 2-year-old son Sage, which would mean just about the whole family would be following in their parents' footstep - or, more appropriately, ski tracks.

Kendra called skiing "my favorite thing in the world."

All around them, people filled aisles stuffing feet into boots, comparing ski deals, and looking over racks of ski bibs and coats.

"That's why we have the kids starting young. I started when I was 2 or 3," she said. "That's what we're doing with him. I just basically want him to love it and enjoy it right now; not be good, not be great, just be excited about it.

"That's the goal," she said, "to get them to love it so later on we can all go skiing."

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-1249, dhimsel@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DonH.