Yellowknife Ski Club’s annual Snow Show takes place this Saturday, November 20, despite the near-absence of snow. It may, however, help you solve another problem: a shortage of skis.
For the second winter in a row, there are concerns that high demand for cross-country skis and a partly pandemic-induced global supply-chain crisis will make new skis hard to come by.
That may make Saturday morning’s gathering all the more important for people looking to get into the sport.
The Snow Show offers the opportunity to pick up second-hand skis and associated accessories from people who may have upgraded their own gear, had children grow out of their equipment, or simply lost interest.
If you have equipment you’d like to sell at the Snow Show, drop it off at the ski club’s chalet from 7pm till 9pm on Friday.
Only when the show opens on Saturday morning (it runs from 10am till 12pm) will the amount of available gear be apparent.
“Skis are better being used than sitting in sheds. We’re encouraging our members to take a look at things that maybe they haven’t used, or their kids have grown out of, and to bring them so we can put them in the hands of someone who can utilize them and enjoy them,” said Kerry Wheler, the Yellowknife club’s events director.
“There is a shortage, nationally, of this gear, but we have a lot of wealth in our community in terms of ski gear.”
Stores like Yellowknife’s Overlander Sports have done their best to accommodate demand, setting up an email list for dozens of people who expressed an interest in skis this fall. Even so, with suppliers struggling to fulfil stores’ orders, there may be plenty of residents in the market for second-hand skis, boots, or poles.
If that’s you, Wheler suggests you come prepared on Saturday.
“I think there will be a lineup and I think you want to have an idea of what you want ahead of time, and maybe even a list of sizes – boot sizes – and the heights of your children in mind, so you can talk to one of the reps,” she said.
You’ll need your proof of vaccination to attend. This year, the second-hand gear sale will take place outdoors to help ease capacity concerns.
Ski club membership across the NWT increased by 60 percent last winter as the sport experienced a nationwide boom in popularity, brought on by the relative inaccessibility of some other sports during the pandemic and as people turned to their local outdoor environment with travel restrictions in place.
“I think it’s really wonderful,” said Wheler. “We were really proud of our sport to be kind-of the shining star and for people to recognize that this is in our backyard. It’s readily accessible to anyone who wants to try it.
We’re excited for those new members who joined us last year, and saw some of what the club does, to be able to come to the Snow Show, network, and talk to people who are running programs, running events, finding ways that they can contribute, volunteering with their special skills.
“It’ll be a really nice opportunity for, for our community to come together.”
Editor’s note: The author is an administrator of cross-country skiing at the territorial level.