The Loretto Ski and Board Shop recently marked its one-year anniversary at its new location on 936577 Airport Rd in Mansfield.
The ski store operated for 54 years at the end of Concession Road 3, south of Sideroad 20 inside the Loretto Ski Hill’s former chalet before it was destroyed in a fire this past February.
Linas Stripins, store owner, said while he misses the peaceful, quiet and scenic atmosphere at his former location, Airport Rd provides a stronger presence and more room to grow.
He said he’s been open for the past two weeks and is expecting business to pick up as the temperature cools.
“We're going to see how it goes this fall, we've got our fingers crossed, [and] it's been good so far,” said Stripinis.
He told The Times this winter might be busier than usual with far less people traveling outside of Canada due to COVID-19.
"For ski trips, people might go to the States or Europe but that's not going to happen this season, I don't think. They're either going to go to Quebec, Alberta or B.C. to ski,” Stripinis noted.
He said snow sports should become more popular this winter as there’s a lack of activities for the public to engage in during the pandemic.
“I think people have been cooped up for a while and they want to get outside, they want to go have some fun with their family,” Stripinis said.
"You can't go to the movie theatre anymore and there's so many things you can't do. Being outside seems to be the best bet.”
Stripinis said cross country skiing could very well take off this year due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the Loretto Ski and Board Store follows all of the public health guidelines with respect to the novel coronavirus and is currently accepting skis, snowboards or accessories to resell on behalf of customers.
“Anything people have that the kids have outgrown or they're not using anymore, we'll try to sell it for them,” Stripinis explained.
He noted that they don’t accept helmets due to safety concerns.
Stripinis said if people haven’t been on the slopes for a number of years, they should give it another try, as skis have become much lighter and easier to ride.
“They just make skiing more fun and easier for the more occasional skier,” he smiled.
Sam Odrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times