Demand for cross-country skis skyrockets as Czech winter centres remain closed
Closed ski centres have forced Czechs to switch from downhill to cross country-skiing, Hospodářské noviny reports. According to the daily, an increasing number of Czechs are spending their free time on cross country tracks. Producers and retailers of skiing equipment say the demand for cross-country skis has grown exponentially compared to the previous seasons.
According to Alexander Lotschak, general manager of the ski manufacturer Kästle, the company sold 3,000 pairs of cross-country skis during the first two weeks of 2021, which is an increase by 400 percent in annual terms. Meanwhile, the sale of alpine skis have grown by 250 percent.
"We have definitely seen a huge change in the preferences of our consumers, with increasing sales of both cross country skis and alpine skis. My impression is that Nordic skiing equipment will be the strongest segment not only in the Czech Republic and Austria, but also worldwide."
The famous Austrian firm, owned by Czech businessman Tomáš Němec, originally produced 30,000 pairs of cross country skis for the season. In order to meet the growing demand, the company’s factory in Nové Město na Moravě had to increase production.
The Czech Republic’s sporting gear retailers are also reporting a growing interest in cross-country and alpine skiing equipment.
"Due to the favourable conditions, winter equipment has been selling really well. The sales of cross-country skis grew by dozens of percent compared to the previous season, and sales of winter clothes and shoes have also increased," Zdeněk Morávek, marketing director of one of the country’s largest sporting goods chain, told Hospodářské noviny.
The Czech branch of Decathlon, the world’s largest sporting goods retailer, has recorded an increase in the sales of cross-country skis by around 150 percent.
The current enthusiasm for cross-country skiing follows on the cycling trend recorded during the first wave of coronavirus pandemic. While cycling was one of the few "safe" sports Czechs could do during the spring and autumn lockdown, the same is true now for Nordic skiing.
In addition to cross country and Alpine skis, Czech retailers are also struggling to meet the growing demand in sleds and toboggans.