Czech retailers struggling with shortage of cross country skis

While the skiing season in the Czech Republic is in full swing, sporting gear retailers across the country are struggling with a shortage of cross country skis and boots. In the face of a huge demand, orders have been delayed by several months, Czech Radio reported.

According to Tomáš Dvořák from LBS Sport in Prague, there are several reasons behind the current shortage of cross-country skis:

"There is a great demand for cross country skis, but at the same time there is a shortage of material from which they are made, both wood and composites. As far as shoes are concerned, there is a currently a shortage of people who make them, mainly in Asia."

Mr. Dvořák also points out the increasing cost of logistics, driven by the growing prices of transport containers. In addition to that, distributors are overwhelmed by the demand, which they are unable to meet."

Harfasport, a wholesaler on the other side of the Vltava River in Prague, is facing the same problems:

"The assortment is sold out all over the country. Suppliers are collapsing. They keep postponing the orders we have towards the summer months, so it really is a problem," the company’s managing director Jaromír Fitz told Czech Radio.

Another major sports brand, the Sportisimo network, is also facing a shortage of cross country skis. According to its sales director Tomáš Borek, many of the items ordered for the winter season won't arrive until the next one."

According to Mr Fitz, companies with productions in Europe are better off than those with production in Asia. One of them is the Czech-owned ski manufacturer Kästle CZ, the maker of Sporten and Artis skis:

"At the moment we are almost completely sold out. We will certainly not fully meet the demand for the 2021/2022 season," the company’s director Vladimír Dušánek told Czech Radio.

Instead of buying new equipment, many customers are forced to get their old skis repaired. According to sporting gear retailers, the situation is not likely to get any better in the near future, with the shortage of cross country skis expected to last at least until the next winter season.