WINNIPEG -- People around the world have taken up new hobbies this year as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and festering boredom. From gardening to jigsaw puzzles, people have been trying to keep busy.

Cross-country skiing in particular has become so popular this winter that finding the right equipment has become an uphill battle.

Brian Burke, owner of Winnipeg’s Olympia Cycle & Ski, says he anticipated the surge in demand and ordered more ski equipment, but even he can’t keep up.

“There are shortages,” Burke told CTV News. “Boots for sure.”

“Bindings are OK, poles aren’t bad but like I said, if you hadn’t put your extra orders in early, you’re going to be out of luck,” he added.

Over the summer, biking became so popular that Canada was on the verge of a bicycle shortage. As we head into the snowiest months of winter, cross-country skiing has become the latest COVID-19 exercise trend as Canadians try to find ways to stretch their legs outdoors. 

But those who imagined gliding along a snowy path are finding it much more crowded than anticipated.

Ski stores were anticipating cross-country skiing as the latest pandemic pastime long before the snow started coming down. Phones began ringing off the hook in August and September to book some time on the trails.

At Woodcock Cycle Works bike and ski store in Winnipeg, shipments are still arriving and calls are coming in from across Canada and beyond.

“You can’t get them anywhere,” the shop’s owner Tim Woodcock told CTV News. “All of our equipment pretty much comes from Europe and they are pretty much sold out.”

As Canadians continue to embrace the outdoors, it’s becoming clear that lockdowns don’t necessarily require slowing down as more people look for new ways to stay safe and active.