40 Years of Ski Sale

40 Years of Ski Sale

The History 

If you’ve followed our story for a while, odds are you’ve heard of the Unclaimed Baggage Ski Sale. But if you’re new here, let’s rewind just a bit to tell you about our biggest, most exciting day of the year! To paint the full picture, we’ll start at the beginning. Unclaimed Baggage was founded in 1970 by Mr. Hugo Doyle Owens, who made his way to Washington, D.C. for his first load of unclaimed luggage with only $300, a borrowed pickup truck, and an ingenious idea. He brought the items back to his hometown of Scottsboro, AL, set the contents on card tables in an old rental house, and was shocked to see the amount of people whose curiosity was riled – the front yard was packed! After selling out on the very first day – boom – Unclaimed Baggage was born. Eventually acquiring contracts with all major airlines, the Owens and Unclaimed Baggage team found themselves with items and artifacts of all sorts, including a sizable amount of ski and winter apparel! Now, fast forward nearly a decade and – boom – the annual Ski Sale event was born!

Ski Sale 

The first Ski Sale Event happened in 1981 and since then, has been a highly anticipated event which entices thousands of guests from all over the country to flock to Scottsboro, AL. But why host a ski event in north Alabama where the rare sighting of a snowflake requires closing schools and clearing the grocery stores of milk and bread? After realizing the amount of ski equipment and winter apparel on their hands, the Unclaimed team decided to save this inventory to release it all at once on the first Saturday of November. Droves of ski enthusiasts from all over made their way to UB for a chance to get their hands on these wintery treasures. Ever since, the Unclaimed team saves the best-of-the-best winter apparel, ski equipment, and accessories all year long just to release it on the first Saturday of November, every year. Now celebrating 40 years, Ski Sale still remains Unclaimed’s biggest and busiest event of the year! 

The Inside Scoop

Long-term team member, Hal Brown, has worked Ski Sale since 1984. The year's Ski Sale will be his 37th event! Hal shares many-a-story about the event from over the years. “Cool memories are the variety of folks who have come to the ski sale,” he says, “The first timers’ reactions to the madness are interesting. Hardcore campers come because they have done it so many times. It always seems to be a real deal to someone!” But what does he mean by madness? “Many years ago, I picked up a North Face coat and tossed it to a lady yelling for it. Not a good idea. It was like tossing candy in a parade.” Hal goes on to describe the event as, “Almost like an earthquake! One year they were pulling on a rack so much I thought it might go over!” Like any typical day at Unclaimed Baggage, guests never know what they will find at Ski Sale. Hal recounts the time a guest bought a pair of skis once belonging to an Olympic downhill racer, as well as a pair of beautiful, handmade Hawaiian skis sold three years ago. His favorite memory? “We had about 300 pairs of skis lined around the walls where the shoe department is today. Two guys were running after the same pair of skis. One of them fell, and the skis went down like dominos.” 

The 40th Year

Like every Ski Sale event in years past, Ski Sale 2021 will be one to remember. In celebration of the event’s 40th year, guests can expect more than just a day full of bargain shopping – they can expect a party! From a live band to food trucks to DJs to games and more, this is an event the entire family will enjoy. Score major deals on name brands such as North Face, Patagonia, and Arc’teryx, as well as other ski equipment and accessories. Start the fun early by packing a tent and joining us the night before in our parking lot for some good-ole camping fun. The first fifty campers will enjoy a free Ski Sale t-shirt and an extra thirty minutes of early shopping! So come join the excitement Saturday, November 6th.


We can’t wait to see y’all!