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Coronavirus pandemic fuels demand for recreational winter gear

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: Ski, snowboard demand surges amid COVID-19 pandemic' Coronavirus: Ski, snowboard demand surges amid COVID-19 pandemic
WATCH ABOVE: The impact of the pandemic has been felt by many and of the ripple effects has been a surge of interest in recreational sports equipment. Shallima Maharaj reports – Nov 24, 2020

In the midst of a second wave, the ripple effect of the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be a run on recreational winter gear.

Located in York Region, the doors to Sanction Skate and Snow remain open. The shop already had a taste of the voracious appetite for recreational gear earlier in the year with skateboards.

When asked whether he expects there to be a run on snowboards, co-owner Malcolm Vaughan said it is already taking place.

Read more: B.C. club youth sports grapple with new COVID-19 restrictions

“Probably 40 to 50 per cent more demand than a normal type of year,” he said.

“There have been some channels that have disappeared — ski shows, special events, they’ve all gone away, so we’ve lost those sales. We think those sales have sort of blended into in-store sales and online sales.”

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As for tracking down additional inventory for snow sports, he described that as difficult since rders typically go out to suppliers in December or early spring. Many retailers submitted their requests not anticipating the enormity of the situation that would unfold.

The Sign of the Skier has seen significant demand for both skis and snowshoes during the pandemic. Adam Dabrowski, Global News

“The demand level is still huge,” described Paul de Merlis, co-owner of The Sign of the Skier.

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“We probably get 10 to 20 calls a day asking about Nordic ski equipment. Unfortunately, the supply is empty, so we’re having to say to the customer to keep shopping elsewhere.”

Toronto and Peel Region are currently under lockdown, a stage those communities entered on Monday.

The Sign of the Skier, located on Yonge Street just south of Lawrence Avenue in Toronto, has seen its inventory drastically reduced by demand.

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“We had one shipment come in and probably 90 per cent of it went within the first three to four hours,” described de Merlis.

“We do have one more shipment coming now, but there’s probably 100 names on the list and there’s probably only going to be equipment for maybe 25 per cent of them.”

While the surge has meant more business, the closure now means what they do have in store will remain on the shelves for 28 days.

“Those four weeks probably represent 35 per cent of our total winter business,” he said.