NewsMissoula County


Safety on Snow Fair provide mountain goers with safe winter equipment

Posted at 9:00 AM, Nov 01, 2021

MISSOULA — Many Missoulians are looking ahead to colder weather...and that first chance to go downhill, in a good way.

The Western Montana Fairgrounds was bustling with winter sports enthusiasts over the weekend thanks to the Safety On Snow (SOS) fair.

Organizers began gathering used outdoor recreational equipment on Saturday and as the ski racks filled, the doors opened for the community to come to buy winter supplies on Sunday.

“As we refer to it this year, this is our 53rd minus one,” said Snowbwl ski patrol member Steve Thompson.

What started in the late ’60s has only grown in time — and Thompson has been there for almost all of it The SOS Fair aims at providing safe equipment for all mountain goers without breaking the bank.

"[We want to] introduce folks to skiing with a little less outlay of money,” said Thompson.

People can bring in their old equipment, put it up for sale, and then others can buy it. Soon all of the racks will be filled with winter clothes for children, men, and women. And downstairs are skis, snowboards, cross country skis and boots of all sizes.

Here to make sure the used equipment is safe, it Snowbowl Ski Patrol.

“We're trying to make sure that people have the most current up-to-date safe equipment and that they can go out and enjoy the winter sports in a safe manner,” Thompson told MTN News.

One example of things they are on the lookout for — bindings.

“We have lists of current bindings that meet safety standards, and if bindings don't meet those safety standards, we make them go away,” said Thompson.

The ski patrol takes 20% of the profits from items sold, but because they are a volunteer patrol the money doesn't go to them. It goes to safety… on the mountain, like New radios, mountain updates and first aid kits.