Cross country skiers

Last winter XC ski gear was in demand like never before and all segments of cross country ski equipment sold out, with few or no options for retailers to reorder. There also was an uptick for backcountry gear and snowshoes.

Retailers are still experiencing demand and supply issues. Coupled with global supply chain challenges, everything from the components that complete a ski binding to the actual cardboard boxes in which products are shipped have been in short supply. Demand and wait times have increased dramatically for these vital pieces, further impacting supply. 

Responding to these factors, retailers placed orders as early as possible and for as much gear as they could get. But some wholesale distributors limited the amount of equipment they planned to make available in the US.

The result? Retailers may not be able to reorder sold out merchandise.

If you want to get new gear this year, here are some tips from Burlington, Vermont retailer Ski Rack:

Start Early

The earlier you begin the process the more likely you’ll get the right winter gear for you. The process begins with your own preliminary research into what you’re looking for and how you want to enjoy the outdoors this winter. Starting early is great! However, keep checking for new arrivals.

Buy Locally

Once you’ve identified the type of XC ski activity you’re interested in (for example, skiing in tracks, on ungroomed trails, in the backcountry, or ski skating) the next step is to head to a local gear shop and talk with the retail experts. They can be a great resource to help with sizing and to discuss various details, including differences between products. Consider custom fitting for all categories, to get the right gear the first time. This way, you’ll save time and avoid having to return something down the line when you find it’s not the right fit. By then, that item may not be in stock anymore.


Another key piece of getting winter gear this year is flexibility. There are lots of options from many brands that will serve you well. Some models may already be sold out for the year, pre-sold, or unavailable for months. It’s advisable to explore all options to see what the best fit may be, even if it’s not your first choice, but ACT FAST! If you find something you want at the store, don’t wait. It could be gone the next day or the next hour.


One Comment

  1. Very thoughtful (and informed) article. I’ve been hearing of XC areas and retailers who sold their rental equipment last spring and haven’t been able to get replacements. Big problem for them and for skiers!

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