Whistler's Turkey Sale Still Has Great Bargains!
Over the many years the Turkey Sale has been held up at Whistler, it went from the locals selling off their skis complete with bindings, gouges and, at times, missing edges, but the prices were right. Many an avid skier could drive up and find skis with little wear and years of great skiing still ahead. That was what the sale was all about.
For me, a skier who taught Moses how to ski, the 'downhill' ski was all wood, had cable bindings and one skied not much different than today's Telemarketer skiers do when sliding downhill. One foot was slipped forward, the other behind and you bent the knees to execute your turn in fine form. Then, Tyrolia brought out the Clix 90 binding, Rossignol put continuous edges onto the Strat 101 skis and ski brakes were combined with the binding. Who needs ski brakes? No one skies fast enough other than Toni Sailer. Franz Klammer and Jean-Claude Killy. Even Ingemar Stenmark, still the over-all skier with the most world cup wins in his career was afraid of speed, so he never ran the downhill (GS & Slalom Champ). Suddenly, no one sold you the pieces for the screw in edges.
The Turkey sale was the best place to get the new stuff, unless you had unlimited cash, which no one I knew had. Why, dad bought a 'C' ski pass for Whistler as it was the only one he could afford. A 'C' pass meant they loaded everyone in the 'A' lineup and if no more 'A' pass-holders came by, they loaded the skiers in the 'B' pass holder lineup. ' C's just waited their turn, but it was fun all-the-same. It wasn't until the 50th Birthday Party of Whistler's Opening Day (official opening that is) that I saw a 'D' ticket displayed on the memorability board. There were folks even worse off than we were! I bought the fellow who brought it up a beer only to find out he now owns half of Whistler, but he accepted none-the-less.
I bought my first quick release skis, a used pair of Rossignol Stats and never looked back. One day, a fellow in the line said, "Where did you get those old skis from? We are all skiing on Shape skis!"
Good thing, I thought as he was in no shape to be on the mountain anyway.
Next year, at the Turkey Sale, I picked up a pair of Völkl G30s in a 190 cm length for only $30.00. I skied on those for more than 4 years!
Since then, the Turkey Sale has slowly been taken over by the brand name stores and they basically sell off last years junk at prices so high you could have bought a season's pass a few years ago. No real deals very often and, as so many of us 'old timers', we did not go up too often.
I happen to be up there at the Tantalus Lodge for Thanksgiving this year, and we leisurely walked up to the area where they conducted the sale (near Merlin's and the Chateau Whistler). I met Maureen who was our PSC president in 1980 and she told me, "Sven, your a little late. The good deals are all gone by Thursday afternoon and evening."
I should have known better having been a cabin owner at Whistler for over 32 years. It was already Sunday, but the regular food and craft bazaar was on, so we walked through tasting wines and locally brewed beers. Then, the first of the tents of the Turkey Sale appeared but they had bikes and bicycle stuff for sale. ????
Oh, yes! I Thought. They now take lazy cyclists uphill. In my day we had to ride uphill both ways to go to school. Now the kids have lifts to take them some place their over-protective moms & dads will not drive them even if they are over 30.
One in our group cycles, so we went in. I went over to the next tent and found Sorel boots for under $50.00 which fit, so I had to buy a pair. The next tent was almost empty and they were taking the shelving down. The last tent had about 2 dozen skis. I found a pair of 168cm Rossignol Bandits with little wear and good bindings. "$50.00", the tag said.
Too much! I Thought. Why only 30 years back I bought Völkls FOR $30.00. Why pay more?
A fine chap, about 10 years younger than I, came up and asked if I liked them. I told him they appeared in relatively good shape and he let me know he was from the Whistler Ski Club. They were used a year or two by one of their members and he had moved on. If I wanted them, he let me know that I could have them for half price.
$25.00 cash in hand, I think I did not get ripped off.
There are still good deals around, even on the Sunday of the Turkey Sale. As I already have 20 pairs of good skies, I'll give them to someone who really needs them.