The Newport Ski Swap has become crazy popular because we have a lot of gear that is well organized and priced to go. In past years, we had major issues with too many people trying to buy, especially in the early hours. We had to respond to the Fire Department by limiting entry rather letting it getting too full inside the 2 gyms and the checkout line filling the exit hallway and wrap around the gym.
Last year, we had almost 2,000 people in the first 3 hours. We instituted the First Tracks, First hour program not out of greed but rather to manage our first hour more by charging for entry. If we had just opened we would have had over 1500 people in our first hour which would then drive a 500 foot or more check-out/cashier line. While the number of people in the gym was much better and the cashier line never over 50 feet, there was an entry line until nearly 5:00 pm. It appears that our facility, volunteers and systems can handle about 500-600 people an hour.
We think we have improved our cashier capability by another 100-200 customers but it takes time for people to find the right equipment so we will watch and move the entry as fast as is safe and reasonable. We can not compromise on safety.
Some people waited to get in for around 1 hour or a bit more. We expect that trend to continue this year. We would like people to not wait at all anywhere but popularity has its downside. It is much safer, cooler and more convenient to wait outside than inside (said by many who had experienced 200-500 foot check-out lines). There is ready availability of restrooms (for the kids) and we will have some food and drink as well as booths to ease the burden of waiting to get in.
Thank you for your continued support and in advance for your patience.
Newport Ski Swap Leadership