* WHEEL, DEAL: Alpine skiing can be impossibly romantic (think slopeside condos with crackling log fires, powdery backcountry trails high on the Continental Divide, etc.), but the price to take part in the sport quickly can bring you back down to Earth. To that end, Ski Chalet will host a batch of ski and snowboard swaps, in which you can gear up for a fraction of retail cost, this month and next.

The first swaps take place Saturday at Ski Chalet stores in Arlington and Richmond, followed by a two-day event on Oct. 23-24 at the Shady Grove store, another at Tysons Corner on Nov. 7 and the last in Chantilly on Nov. 13-14. Bring in your gear, clothing and whatever else and ski patrollers from nearby areas will help you assign an appropriate price for your stuff. The money made (above what is earmarked for the seller) will benefit the ski patrols, who'll be there to help pick up the pieces if you're ever unfortunate enough to have a "yard sale" -- skis, poles, goggles and hat scattered down a slope after a crash. Most skiers have done this, but few admit it.

For details about the swaps and information about other Ski Chalet events, including a women's ski clinic hosted by Jeannie Thoren on Friday at the Tysons Corner store, visit www.skichalet.com.

* GLIDING INTO THE PAST: If you're a Civil War buff and like to bike, Mike High of the Potomac Pedalers Touring Club has a ride for you, "Loudoun County Colors: Mosby's Confederacy and Mean's Union." For Saturday, High has organized a 38-mile fall-foliage trip on back roads and through places in the county that were familiar to the famed Mosby's Confederacy -- an ever-shifting group of partisans that was the bane of Union soldiers protecting supply lines in Virginia during the war -- but also the home to staunch Unionist families and abolitionist Quakers.

If your grasp of the epic conflict is weak, High will help fill you in on the details. The group will meet at 10:30 a.m. at the Leesburg Plaza shopping center and is open to non-PPTC members. Part of the ride will be on the C&O Canal towpath, so you'll want to bring a hybrid or mountain bike. For more information, visit http://www.bikepptc.org/.

* MEET, GREET: The National Capital Chapter of Trout Unlimited next will meet on Wednesday at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda. The featured speaker is Guy Turenne, who'll talk about brook trout. The event is free and non-members are welcome. A fly-tying clinic starts at 7 p.m., followed by Turenne's talk at 8 p.m. For more, visit www.ncc-tu.org.

-- John Mullen