Deals still found at WB Turkey Sale 

Online second-hand markets affecting WMSC sales

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Sweet deals Shoppers prepare to head into the Blackcomb Day Lodge for the annual Whistler Blackcomb Turkey Sale.
  • photo by dan falloon
  • Sweet deals Shoppers prepare to head into the Blackcomb Day Lodge for the annual Whistler Blackcomb Turkey Sale.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) swapping tent at the annual Whistler Blackcomb Turkey Sale wasn't as busy as it's been in previous years, continuing a trend of less foot traffic at the extravaganza.

WMSC executive director Mark Tilston said sales at the tent declined again this year, but said there was still a "reasonable turnout."

"It's been a decrease of six years or more," he said. "The whole secondhand market has changed significantly the last few years with all the Facebook buy-and-sell pages — Whistler Buy and Sell — there's all sorts of avenues of selling secondhand gear. It has a big impact."

Tilston added the options available to buyers have changed in the last 10 years and their purchasing preferences have changed.

In terms of Whistler Blackcomb's stake in the sale, the company's general manager of merchandise, Josh Buchanan, responded to emailed questions about the foot traffic and sales by saying the village as a whole seemed busier and the weather foreshadowed a good season.

"With that dusting of snow on Saturday and then clear skies over the next two days — it definitely had people thinking about skiing and snowboarding," Buchanan wrote.

Slower sales, however, were exactly what some of the charitable elements of the sale were hoping for — changes to how the frozen turkeys were sold in support of the food bank meant that some were still available Saturday.

That was good news said Whistler Community Services Society outreach worker Taylor MacDougall, who was manning the table outside the Blackcomb Day Lodge.

"One per family — that was something new this year and it really, I think, made a difference," he said. "(It helps) some folks who come late, or couldn't come on time, or have kids — and it's hard to get up in the morning."

The turkeys sold for $15 with proceeds from all 100 sold going directly to the Whistler Food Bank.

As well, Spirit Bear Coffee Company had its booth set up with java by donation, also supporting the food bank.

"Spirit Bear Coffee Company is the official coffee company for Whistler Blackcomb and we want to support them in their local charities and their Turkey Sale. We come up every year and we give out fresh-brewed organic fair-trade coffee for whatever donations people can spare. All the proceeds go to the food bank," sales manager Graham Boisvert said.

The donations raise hundreds of dollars for the food bank every year.

Inside the day lodge, deal hunters weren't disappointed as they found offers of up to 50-per-cent off on all their favourite brands of skiing and snowboarding necessities.

Richard Fraser came up from Vancouver to snag himself a set of Volkl Mantra Demos after hearing about the sale from friends for years.

"They only had one size, but fortunately, it was my size," Fraser said with a laugh. "I needed new skis this year, a good all-mountain ski, and for $400 — I think brand-new would be a $1,300 set up — it's not bad."

After taking the plunge into his first Turkey Sale, Fraser said he'll be back again for another deal down the line.

"I think all of my friends have picked up their skis over time at the Turkey Sale," he said. "I eventually need to get a set of powder skis, so that'll be in a couple of years."

Pemberton's Orion Andrew, meanwhile, picked up a new coat for the season

"I needed a new coat this year because the one I have now is getting kind of old and falling apart," he said.

While the deals keep Andrew coming back year after year, he said it could be difficult to get the bulk of his shopping done at the sale.

"Other stuff, I'll either get online or somewhere else," he said.

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