When Did Snow Become a Bad Thing?

Over the past couple of weeks, politicians, meteorologists, and even destination tourism officials in the Northeast have been giving snow a bad name, adding to the challenges resorts face in drawing visitors. Elected officials and meteorologists are advising people to not go outside, and a visitor’s bureau went so far as to recommend that people head to Florida.

Lately, ski area operators have not only had to fight the familiar battles of deep snow, wind, and cold, but also public perceptions. Skiing and snowboarding become a tough sell up against headlines that read “Deadly Cold Hits the Northeast” and “Dangerous Snowstorm Slams New England.”

Just today, Jon Erdman, senior digital meteorologist at the Weather Channel, posted the following to the website: “We’re sorry to be the messengers. We know snow fatigue is reaching epidemic proportions during what is approaching a record snow season in New England…Snow may now be one of those four-letter words you shouldn’t say. Unfortunately, the relentless cold continues.”

Another recent anti-snow, pro-indoor message came from Marty Walsh, mayor of Boston. Local residents had taken to playing in and on the snowbanks all around the city. “This isn’t Loon Mountain, this is the city of Boston, where we’re trying to remove snow off of the street and it becomes very dangerous,” Walsh said. That served to fuel an already trending social media feed of photos of residents jumping into snow banks.

Jeff Crowley, president of Wachusett Mountain, Mass., said colder than average temperatures and several feet of fresh snow that’s fallen at his area over the past couple of weeks have presented the usual perception challenges. “But it doesn’t help that the meteorologists on the same TV stations that we advertise on tell viewers that they should not go outside,” he said.

Meanwhile, in Ithaca, N.Y., the Ithaca and Tompkins County Visitors Bureau posted a message to its website, stating, “That’s it. We surrender. Winter, you win. Key West, anyone? Due to this ridiculously stupid winter, Ithaca invites you to visit the Florida Keys this week. Please come back when things thaw out. Really, it’s for the birds here now.”

The message has since been taken down because it reportedly crashed the bureau’s website, but not before Marc Stemerman, co-owner of nearby Greek Peak, retorted, “We don’t say, ‘Go to Napa, screw the Cayuga wine country. I don’t agree with it. I think it was short-sighted.”

Ski areas will have more opportunity to get public officials and meteorologists on message regarding the S-word, as the Weather Channel forecasts more s*** and ice through the weekend and into next week.