A surprise lockdown winner: snow shoes

Lockdowns have devastated Europe's ski season.

And left skiers and snowboarders looking for something to do.

Now that's creating a surprise winner amidst the business turmoil.

Demand for snow shoes has rocketed.

Using them doesn't require a ski lift.

And hiking into the wilderness is natural social distancing.

Philippe Gallay is the boss of TSL, the world's biggest maker of snow shoes.

He says orders are off the chart:

"For us, it is quite stressful, but it's a good stress, because we are crumbling under orders, we don't know how we will make it - it's rather a good stress."

Last month TSL's factory in Annecy took orders for 100,000 pairs.

That's three times what it would normally do in a whole year.

Gallay has quadrupled his usual workforce, and has the factory running 24/7.

But he still has a backlog of 40,000 orders.

Over at the ski school, director Gregoire Chavanel has noticed the change:

"We rent equipment at the ski resort, and we have around 100 snowshoes, which usually is enough. But right now, on busy days, it is taken by storm, and at 9 a.m., or around 9:30 a.m., there is not a snowshoe left."

Government sources say France's ski lifts look set to stay closed until the end of the season.

Snow shoes at least offer something to do instead.

That is, if you can get a pair.

Video Transcript

- Lockdowns have devastated Europe's ski season and left skiers and snowboarders looking for something to do. Now that's creating a surprise winner amidst the business turmoil. Demand for snow shoes has rocketed. Using them doesn't require a ski lift. And hiking into the wilderness is natural social distancing.

Philippe Gallay is the boss of TSL, the world's biggest maker of snow shoes. He says orders are off the chart.

PHILIPPE GALLAY: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: For us, it is quite stressful, but it's a good stress because we are crumbling under orders. We don't know how we will make it. It's rather a good stress.

- Last month, TSL's factory in Annecy took orders for 100,000 pairs. That is three times what it would normally do in a whole year. Gallay has quadrupled his usual workforce and has the factory running 24/7, but he still has a backlog of 40,000 orders.

Over at the ski school, director Gregoire Chavanel has noticed the change.

GREGOIRE CHAVANEL: [SPEAKING FRENCH]

INTERPRETER: We rent equipment at the ski resort, and we have around 100 snow shoes, which is usually enough. But right now, on busy days, it's taken by storm. And by 9:00 or 9:30 AM, there's not a snow shoe left.

- Government sources say France's ski lifts look set to stay closed until the end of the season. Snow shoes, at least, offer something to do instead. That is, if you can get a pair.