Church sanctuary in Ligonier transforms into skiing ‘swap shop’ one Saturday each fall
Nearby Laurel Mountain Ski Resort has not opened for the season, but as temperatures dipped into the 20s early Saturday plenty of Ligonier-area skiers were prepping to hit the slopes.
As many skiers have for the past 20 years, they flocked Saturday to the sanctuary at Ligonier Valley Heritage United Methodist Church on The Diamond, where a “ski swap” shop is sponsored annually by the church’s congregation and members of the Ligonier-area ski club.
“We collect donations for the Ligonier Valley Food Pantry, and at the same time this event allows families in the local community to better afford outfitting themselves and their families to enjoy the local slopes,” said Diana Neiderhiser, a member of the church and ski club.
The shop was open from 8 a.m. to noon.
“We actually have people waiting outside when we arrive in the morning to look for bargains,” Neiderhiser said.
In recent years, the event has raised between $400 and $600 for the local food pantry, she said.
Skis, snowboards, ski boots, goggles, helmets, gloves, winter outerwear and other skiing-related equipment are put on temporary display throughout the sanctuary.
“We have skiers who want to sell their slightly-used equipment drop it off Friday night, and they tell us how much they want for each item. We mark it down, and then the donors return after noon, after our sale, and pick up their money,” Neiderhiser said.
“It really is a Westmoreland County communitywide event because we get people from as far away as the Greensburg and Latrobe areas dropping off equipment they no longer use,” Neiderhiser said. “We don’t require a donation to the food bank, but many choose to donate. And we also have some people just drop off their items and tell us to donate it all to the food bank.”
Among the shoppers Saturday was skier Jason Fisher of Ligonier, who was with his sons, Noah, 7, and Henry, 9, trying on ski boots, coats and pricing skis and snowboards.
“We’re going to try skiing this winter, and this really makes (the costs) a lot more reasonable,” Fisher said.
Neiderhiser said her own sons, who are now adults in their 20s, have donated ski equipment over the years as they grew out of it.
“I’ve noticed a few items that we’ve donated years ago come back through to be resold once in awhile, and it makes me laugh,” she said. “But that’s good. … The whole goal is to keep families out using the slopes and benefit the community.”
Neiderhiser said the event has grown more popular by word of mouth over the years.
The opening date for Laurel Mountain Ski Resort in the township has not been announced, but in recent years it has opened the week prior to Christmas.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .