California dreaming of snow

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Further evidence of the fortunate, snowy position Whistler is in this winter, while other ski areas have been thirsting for the stuff, came on a trip to San Francisco last weekend.

Baggage on flights between Vancouver and San Francisco included lots of skis and snowboards, as Californians seem to have given up on winter in their home state. Indeed, sunny skies and warm temperatures inspired some residents to dawn shorts and T-shirts on the weekend.

And above the bicycles, pedestrians and clean cars of the dry San Francisco streets was this billboard for Shell Oil advertising free skiing at four California resorts with the purchase of 10 gallons of gasoline. (Apologies for the fuzziness of the photo).

Ski Free, the Shell offer on a San Francisco billboard.
  • Ski Free, the Shell offer on a San Francisco billboard.

In fact, the offer is good at 19 ski areas in California, Oregon and Colorado, and another 25 in Michigan, from Jan. 2 to April 16.

The fine print reveals that the voucher for a free ticket must be paired with the purchase of a full price adult lift ticket, which could be $96 at Squaw Valley, one of the participating California ski areas.

However, with regular unleaded gasoline selling for about $3.70 a gallon in California, the discount is still significant.

The fundamental problem, and presumably the reason for the offer, is the lack of snow. The first big snowstorm of the winter hit California/Nevada just over a week ago. The Squaw.com website this morning is claiming: “With close to five feet of new snow in the last week Squaw is back in the winter groove.” However, daytime temperatures will be well into the 40s F again this week and Squaw’s snow base is still between 30 and 36 inches.

Whistler can count its blessings; they measured 248 cm at Pig Alley this morning.

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