BEMIDJI -- Since early last week, the hum of snowmakers have filled the icy air around Buena Vista Ski Area, a sign that ski season is on the horizon.

“We’re making beautiful snow,” Suzanne Thomas, owner of Buena Vista, said. “We’re looking at an earlier opening this year, which is nice because it’s our 70th anniversary.”

Thomas said she expects opening day to be in conjunction with the ski area’s annual Open House and Ski Swap on Saturday, Nov. 23.

The event serves as a sneak peek into the winter sports season and allows individuals the chance to stock up on various ski gear as well as let go of any equipment they no longer need.

“Our Open House is a ‘welcome to winter’ for everybody,” Thomas said. “And our Ski Swap is a wonderful opportunity for people to bring in their used equipment and for individuals to buy used but quality items.”

A family driven event, the Open House and Ski Swap is also a “great time for parents if their children have outgrown their equipment,” Thomas added.

Vendors with additional ski gear and equipment are expected to be at the event, and guests will be served complimentary pizza from Keith’s Pizza and cookies from Raphael’s Bakery and Cafe.

Throughout the day, there will be live music along with free drawings -- the largest prize being a $100 gift certificate from Buena Vista.

Thomas encourages all to attend -- even those inexperienced with winter sports -- because “there’s something here for everyone” and information for beginners will be available.

And with Buena Vista’s 70th year of operation dawning, Thomas said this season is guaranteed to be a celebratory one.

“We’re going to have quite a bit of memorabilia and some retro specials, and its going to be a celebration throughout the year,” Thomas said. “We always look forward to our friends and family coming back home to Buena Vista because it's our lifetime sport and it’s fun for the whole family.”

If you go:

What: Buena Vista Open House and Ski Swap

Where: 19600 Irvine Ave NW

When: Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Note: Bring in gear for the Ski Swap from 8 to 9:30 a.m.