Ski companies in western Canada are scrambling to find new products for the winter.
But many of the industry’s biggest brands are sticking to basics.
The B.C. and Alberta winter markets have been a disaster.
But the Alberta winter has been especially brutal.
With snowpack down to its lowest level in at least a decade, the winter market for B.P. Ski Products (BBSP) in Edmonton is at a standstill.
“We’ve been in a constant battle with snow,” said Kristina Schafer, who owns BBSP in the city.
“The demand has been phenomenal.”
The company has been selling out of winter jackets, ski boots and gloves for weeks.
The company had hoped to sell out this week.
It’s the first time since April that the stock has fallen more than 10 per cent.
But that’s not stopping many other brands from sticking to their basic brands.
“We’ve sold out of a lot of the winter coats, the snow boots and ski gloves, and that’s just a big part of our business,” said Paul Naylor, president of Naylor and Associates, an Alberta-based company that makes winter gear.
“I think that the people of Alberta have been incredibly supportive.”
The provincial government says the province has received more than $2 billion in government funds to deal with the worst of the snowfall.
But companies say the provincial government is only covering half of the cost of the emergency response, which will cost tens of millions of dollars.
The B.B.C.’s winter weather office said its snowfall response has been delayed by nearly a week because of poor communication with the private sector and the government.
“This has been the most expensive emergency response in the province’s history,” said Rob MacKay, the province snow-fall manager.
“It’s going to be a long process, and we’re not getting there quickly enough.”
Meanwhile, companies are turning to the private market to get a foothold in the market.
Ski boots are popular among B.A.P.’s.
B.N. ski boots are still available at the local shops, but the company has started to sell them at a much higher price than before.
“It’s still quite expensive, so we’re hoping that we can find a way to make it a little bit more affordable,” said Scott Smith, executive vice-president of the BC B.S.S., which has a retail store in Vancouver.
“And it’s just been a very competitive environment.
So we’re still looking at what we can do.”
Smith said the company plans to continue selling B.M.
S ski boots at its Vancouver store.
BMT skis have been sold out for weeks at B.O.M., the ski footwear company that sells to Alberta, B.K.
S and B.L.
O, BMT and the other companies that sell to the provincial governments are selling them at higher prices than ever before, but they say they are still selling them on a case-by-case basis.
B.A., which is selling skis at its B.E.O., said its sales are at a record level.
The government is looking to raise more funds for its snow-related emergency response.
The province expects to spend about $10 million to $12 million in the coming months on snow-fighting equipment and equipment to repair and repair roads, buildings and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Alberta is still looking for new products to fill a gap in the winter supply chain.
Alberta has not announced how much the province will spend on emergency snowfighting equipment or how much it will spend to fix roads, but it has said it is looking for products with more durable materials and features.
The provincial ministry of natural resources said it will be spending $2 million on winter-related equipment in 2018.
“In the short term, we need to continue to build on the current capabilities,” said Brenda Johnson, the department’s director of operations.
“But over the long term, the government is going to need to be investing in the industry to create the kind of jobs and opportunities that Alberta has always had.”
But for many, the problem of a cold winter is far more serious.
In western Ontario, a woman named Stephanie says she is so far behind her husband, a truck driver in his 60s, who has spent all of his savings to pay for his snow-making equipment.
She says he hasn’t been able to find a snowman for the last three months.
A few weeks ago, she said, she got a call from a company offering snowmobiles for the first $100,000.
She said she has yet to decide on which model she will choose.
“They were very nice, very helpful,” she said.
“For now, I’m going to take the chance.” Stephan