People line up for annual Gear Swap

By Ben Deering

Jason McFarland checks out the table of boots. "I came for skis but everyone nailed them. I was two seconds too late," said McFarland. The annual gear swap had a line stretching over 100 feet a half hour before the event was scheduled to start. Feb. 5, 2011. Heather Bryant/Sun Star.

More than 100 people waited in line Saturday, Feb. 5 for Fairbanks’ only college-sponsored gear swap to begin. The format of the event was similar to an auction, with items tagged and laid out on several tables inside the Wood Center Ballroom.

The gear swap is sponsored in part by Outdoor Adventures, and is a fundraiser for the Alaska Alpine Club. “They’re kind of the ones benefiting. Outdoor Adventures facilitates on campus, the Alaska Alpine Club doesn’t have an office for it,” said Frank Olive, Co-Coordinator for Outdoor Adventures and organizer of the swap.

The swap was open from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The people who arrived to participate in the mercantile dance varied. For some, it was “just my first year,” said Kristen Olive, Frank Olive’s wife.

Others, like Nick Thompson, have been coming for “probably eight years.”

While many of the participants were UAF students, people from off-campus joined in as well. That includes Allison Thompson’s family that has just moved up from South Dakota. “[My husband] actually wanted to come to see if there were any items we needed,” Thompson said.

The Alaska Alpine Club is given 10 percent of all funds raised from sales, while 90 percent is given directly to the seller. “It’s a better deal than other gear swaps,” Frank Olive said. “West Valley’s, I believe, gets 20, 25.”

The Alaska Alpine Club was originally referred to in this article as the Arctic Alpine Club. The Sun Star regrets this error.

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