Photo: Hadley Laskowski. The 40th annual Ski and Skate Sale  took place last weekend at Waitsfield Elementary School.

Last weekend, people from all over The Valley gathered at the Waitsfield Elementary School’s 40th annual Ski and Skate Sale to gear up on winter essentials, including everything from ski boots to scarves. This school fundraiser couldn’t have come at a better time with the November snowfall that hit The Valley early this week. However, perfect timing wasn’t the only thing that made the sale a success.

“It was one of our strongest years in terms of business,” said Andrea Cox, sale director. The profits of the sale were slightly up from the previous year, assuring the Waitsfield PTA enough funds to contribute to the school’s educational enrichment programs. Although only 20 percent of total profits go to the Waitsfield Elementary PTA, this percentage is a key part of the school’s winter program, a program that brings students to the mountain every week, giving them the opportunity to learn how to ski and snowboard. Additionally, the Ski and Skate Sale funds help cover field trips and in-school enrichment opportunities.

The Ski and Skate Sale is a pro-community alternative to traditional school fundraising approaches (i.e., a bunch of bake sales), Cox said.

“The sale not only benefits the school but benefits buyers and sellers of winter equipment in The Valley, of which there are many,” she continued.

However, organizing a sale like this is no easy feat. The sale is 100 percent volunteer staffed and must be organized months in advanced. This year, more than 250 volunteers donated their time to the sale. These volunteers include family members of students, teachers, administrators, members of the alpine ski racing team and more. Some come from as far as Quebec to volunteer for the sale. “It’s such a nice mix of people,” said Cox. “We have people coming together from different pieces of the community. It really adds to the ambiance of the sale.” Cox pointed out that some volunteers assisting with boot and ski fitting included ski racers, ski instructors and former Olympians. “We are fortunate to have real experts here. Not many places can offer that.”

In honor of the 40th anniversary of the sale, volunteers partnered with Skida, a Vermont-based headwear company, to make special hats and neck warmers for the sale. Those who missed the sale can call Waitsfield Elementary School to buy them now.

Photo: Hadley Laskowski. The 40th annual Ski and Skate Sale  took place last weekend at Waitsfield Elementary School.