By Gene Davis, DENVER DAILY NEWS
Reba Stoner had to endure people shaking her tent, blaring car horns and the overall commotion that comes with camping out on one of the busier intersections in Denver on Wednesday night — and she still has nine more nights to go before SNIAGRAB starts.
SNIAGRAB — bargains spelled backwards — enters its 55th year next weekend and expects a record turnout due to the down-sloped economy. Hailed as the world’s largest ski and snowboard sale, hundreds of people are expected to camp out outside of Sports Authority, 1000 Broadway Ave., to be in the front of the line for the super sale when it kicks off a week from Saturday at 8 a.m.
Camping out prior to SNIAGRAB has become an event unto itself. Food vendors, onlookers and promotional tents will join the campers, and as an added incentive, Sports Authority will give away more than $100,000 in prizes — including a new 2009 Subaru Outback — to some of the eager shoppers.
Stoner staked her place in the front of the line this year by setting up her tent two days ago. She is hoping to lay claim to some of the prizes that are being given away, adding that the recession was the main motivator for her securing her place in line a week and a half before the event begins.
“It’s extremely crucial to save money these days,” she said. “Last year I could buy what I wanted a week before I went on the mountain, whether it was on sale or not. This year I can’t because of the economy…I need to save money and get the biggest bang for my buck.”
The Texas transplant is planning to save $2,000 by buying a new snowboard, bindings and coat during SNIAGRAB, which offers up to 70-percent off on leading brands like Burton, Volkl, K2, The North Face, Columbia and Sims.
Stoner doesn’t expect her week-and-a-half campout to be easy. She is focusing on staying hydrated, sleeping in the morning hours to avoid the late night commotion, and always being ready with a change of clothes in case the weather changes. Because she is first in line, she knows she will have to be a constant presence around her tent to keep her place.
Stoner isn’t alone in her adventure. Her friend Marvin Maricic was out to show support Thursday afternoon, though he won’t be camping out with her.
“I’m impressed by her,” he said. “She knows what she wants and is going after it.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters