Cooler weather means it’s almost time for skiing.

Here it is, the last of the warm weather, which simply means it’s a time to turn thoughts from golf and bikes to skis and shoveling.

Actually, plans for skiing and snowboarding should have surfaced back when temperatures were in the high 90s. That’s when resorts began offering the best prices on lift transportation for this winter. There are still a few discounts, but the deadline is on Oct. 31.

This is also a good time to inventory the ski and snowboard gear. Labor Day was the official start for bargain hunters’ alternatives to in-store shopping, the ski swaps.

It’s especially a good time for parents to take inventory. Unfortunately, skis, boards and boots don’t grow. Kids do. Also, old equipment needs to be replaced for safety reasons. Skis and bindings that were good enough a decade ago have no place showing up on children or adults.

Ski swaps are an especially great place to grab gear for the kids.

Old equipment needs to be replaced. Binding parts start to wear and become unsafe; boots wear, especially the toes and heels, which work in cooperation with the bindings; and skis and boards, if not new one, should at least be tuned before the season. There’s no question, either, that new skis and snowboards are much easier to ski and ride than older models.

And, ski swaps are a great place to look for newer used equipment. Smart sellers mark their gear way down in price to make sure it sells. Some equipment is only slightly used. In some cases reps put samples, which are new, on the tables

This is particularly a good place to buy children’s equipment. Again, kids grow out of their ski and snowboard gear and there are no better opportunities to sell or trade the equipment than at swaps.

There are typically experienced skiers and snowboarders working the various swaps to help buyers with the selection of equipment.

Along with skis and snowboards equipment, there is typically a full range of other winter gear available, including clothing, gloves, hats and accessories.

Snowboard gear is also available at local swaps.

(See list below for list of area ski swaps.)

As noted, the best buys in ski passes, especially for locals, started months ago and now those deadlines have passed. There are a few buys that are still available.

Brighton, for example, will be offering a five-day book of passes for $245 ($49 a day) and a 10-day book of passes for $460 ($46 a day). Passes are transferrable. Books must be purchased by Oct. 31, however.

Proof of Utah residency will entitle buyer to a 10-day EZ Access Fast Track Pass at Park City Mountain Resort for $585 ($58.50 per day). Proof would include such things as a drivers license, state ID or primary property tax bill.

Deer Valley is offering an adult season pass if purchased before the 31st at $1,810. After that date it goes to $2,100. A senior pass (65–71) is $925 and super senior (72 and older) is $850. Prices then go up to $1,030 and $935, respectively.

Sundance has an unlimited access pass for adults for $475 if purchased before the 31st. It then goes to $585.

Similar savings are available in various age classes, such as senior and children at the resorts.

The argument has long been that skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports. With a little preseason effort, skiing and snowboarding suddenly become far less expensive.

Ski/Snowboard Swaps

40th Annual Park City Swap—Nov. 2–4 at the Basin Recreation Field House in New Park, 1388 New Main Street, Kimball Junction (435-649-8749)

St. Lawrence Thrift Store Ski and Snowboard Sale—Nov. 2–3 for donated equipment at Zermatt Resort, 784 W. Resort Drive, Midway (435-657-0209)

Soldier Hollow Pre-Winter Ski Sale & Tree Tag Sale—Lodge at Soldier Hollow in Midway for cross country and snowshoe equipment (435-654-2002)

Black Diamond Store—Oct. 20 at 2092 E. 3900 South, SLC (801-278-5552)

Rowmark Ski Swap—Oct. 26–27 at Rowland Hall’s gymnasium, 970 E. 800 South, SLC (801-355-3943)

2nd Tracks Sports Ski Swap—Oct. 5–7 at 2927 E. 3300 South, SLC (801-466-9880)

Snowbasin Ski Swap—Oct. 26-28 at Legacy Events Center, 151 S. 1100 West, Farmington (801-430-1279)

Weber State’s 9th Annual Outdoor Gear Sale and Swap — Oct. 12 at WSU Waterfall Place at Student Union Building (801-626-6373)