Winter activity boom causing some outdoor sports gear shortages

As public health order restrictions limit indoor experiences, many are heading outside to find a little fun.

Sixteen thousand people, for example, logged on to try and secure one of 1,700 skating time slots at Mosaic Stadium’s Iceville this past Monday.

Iceville, the name given to the skating attraction recently built inside Regina’s Mosaic Stadium, saw a week’s worth of skating slot times booked in under ten minutes this week.

File / Global News

But the surge in the popularity of outdoor activities has meant that the shelves in some of Regina’s sporting goods stores have

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The manager of Fresh Air Experience in Regina says the store has seen unprecedented demand for cross country skiing gear.

Justin Bukoski / Global News

“It’s been incredible, absolutely incredible,” Fresh Air Experience manager Trevor Norgan said of the demand for cross country skiing and snowshoeing gear.

He said that demand, along with supply chain slowdowns caused by pandemic restrictions abroad, has meant that any new equipment that does come in barely makes it onto the shelf.

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“We’ve sold out of boots. I’ve done multiple orders to try and restock and we sold out once again. The demand is amazing because everybody is so excited to get out right now,” Norgan added, saying the uptake of cross country skiing has been especially significant.

“It’s so different from the recent past. We’re seeing a lot of new customers. We’re seeing a lot of people who are dusting off their old skis and coming in for new boots. In the prairies at least, cross country skiing is definitely the sport.”

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The Regina Ski Club maintains several Nordic ski trails in Regina and the surrounding area.

“Stuff shows up and I’m able to sell it right out of the box,” Norgan said. “We get phone calls daily asking about our stock. We had a full wall of snowshoes, for example, and now we’re down to just a few sizes.”

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Norgan said changing pandemic-related laws and regulations in different parts of the world are making it difficult to forecast future stock.

While the city of Regina has advised residents not to venture out onto bodies of water, several parts of Wascana Creek have been cleared for skating.

Justin Bukoski / Global News

Fat biking also seems to have experienced a surge in popularity this season, as has outdoor hockey.

“Hockey nets sold out very quickly before Xmas, and unfortunately, like with a lot of things right now, manufacturers are out and were left just waiting for things to get in,” said Western Cycle Source for Sports Retail Sales Manager Jeff Pachal.

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“Fat bikes followed the trend of cycling in the summer which saw a huge spike. So fat bikes sold out very quickly and again, manufacturers are out and if you didn’t get in quickly you’re kind of left waiting.”

Pachal added, though, that if you are still looking for a hockey net they may not be hard to find.

“If you go out onto the creek and other areas you’ll see there’s hockey nets everywhere.”

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It seems some are turning to the secondhand economy to find sporting goods as well.

Kijiji data shows triple-digit year-over-year increases in searches for skis and snowmobiles.

“It’s very clear based on these search parameters and increases that people generally just want spend more time outdoors and are looking for fun and adventure,” Kijiji Community Relations Manager Kent Sikstrom said, adding that things like ice fishing shacks have also seen more searches.

“It’s really great to see that people are still able to pursue their interests and their hobbies in a safe manner.”

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Click to play video 'Fun winter activities for the whole family'

Fun winter activities for the whole family

Fun winter activities for the whole family – Dec 22, 2020

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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