For snowboarders and skiers, the pre-season festivities in the Twin Cities continue with Welch Village hosting an equipment swap and open house this weekend.
The event will be held on Friday, October 25, from 4:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., and Saturday, October 26, from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Wayne's Ski and Cycle of Mason City, Iowa, and Tyrol Ski Shop of Rochester will be on hand to help you get equipped for the season. If you would like to save money, you might get lucky at a used-equipment swap. Take your skis or board in for a tune-up and save 10 percent off usual prices.The office will be selling season passes, as well.
The Black Diamond Bar, which opened last season, will see some business with drink specials. The new chef will serve up some free samples of pulled-pork sliders. (Who says that ski food has to be a burger and fries?) By the way, expect some changes at Madd Jaxx when the season gets underway, but it won't be open during the swap.
While you're at Welch, take a look at what Chicken, one of the steepest slopes in the region, looks like without snow. You'll also be able to see some unglamorous but useful work underway to prepare for a new maintenance facility. After all, it takes a lot of equipment to keep a ski area working, and it's got to be fixed somewhere.
The forecast calls for dry weather, so you can extend the day, and get in some training, by bringing a bike to ride on the Cannon Valley Trail, which passes in front of the ski area.