Sporting Goods Stores Forecast Busy Season Ahead of Second COVID Winter

Those hoping to hit the slopes this winter may want to gear up early – again.

Ski season is approaching and staff at ski and snowboard equipment stores say they are already seeing a surge in business.

“I think with the ongoing pandemic, there are fewer things people can go out and do in their spare time,” said Fresh Skis store manager Finn O’Driscoll. “So a lot of people are turning to skiing.”

After Alberta’s first COVID-19 winter pushed people outdoors and led to reported shortages of cold-weather sports equipment, some staff say that’s likely to continue this season.

“Last year was our busiest year ever,” said Alyssa Ingram, assistant director of durable goods at Ski West in Kensington.

“This year we’re definitely following a bit of the same trend – if not going higher.”

Equipment and clothing in high demand

O’Driscoll and Ingram say the ski-related business started to get busier a few weeks ago, and so far they’re seeing a mix of new and veteran skiers.

Both say their stores are stocked and ready to meet demand, but warn the industry is also experiencing shipping delays on some items.

At Ski West, Ingram says these delays are impacting apparel.

“From what I’ve heard…we’re definitely not the only place in Calgary that’s having trouble getting things in,” Ingram said.

And according to O’Driscoll, items from the durable goods sector – such as skis, boots and bindings – are also in demand.

“The gear is really, really popular across the board,” O’Driscoll said. “It’s definitely high compared to most years.”

O’Driscoll says customers looking for specific items might experience longer wait times.

Ingram, meanwhile, urges customers to grab what they need quickly.

“My biggest piece of advice is to do your research before entering, to have a good idea of ​​what you are looking for [for]then come as soon as possible,” she said.

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