B.C. snow woes are now international punchlines
B.C.'s snow woes have been reduced to a punchline on the late night comedy circuit.
David Letterman poked fun at the snow-challenged Cypress Mountain, the venue for 2010 snowboard and freestyle skiing events, during an interview with Olympic gold medal snowboarder Shaun white Tuesday night.
"Now you're off to Vancouver, have they got enough snow for your event?" Letterman joked, eliciting laughs from the audience.
White said he hoped there would be.
"We're getting these random rumours that they're saying Russian helicopters flying snow in and they're building the half pipe out of hay then covering it with snow. These are true stories so we'll see."
Still, Letterman didn't let up.
"Well, I know they are asking ticket holders to bring their own snow so if you're going do what you can," Letterman said.
But it's not only Letterman that's taking shots. The Cypress no snow story is gaining momentum around the world.
Earlier this week, a story in Britain's Guardian newspaper declared that the 2010 Games are headed for disaster, and Vancouver is "far from an Olympic wonderland."
"Vancouver is gripped by dread. Not the typical attitude for a host city, but understandable when you consider that everything that could go wrong, is in the process of going wrong," columnist Douglas Haddow wrote.
Leo Yang of Japan's Asahi TV came to Vancouver to see for himself.
"It looks like the Vancouver's Olympic are in jeopardy for not having enough snow," he told CTV News.
A sports segment on ESPN shared that sentiment when talking about Cypress Mountain.
"This isn't the big downhill mountain, this is some dopey little mountain where they hold they're going to hold their little dopey X Games events," the host ranted.
Despite the homegrown attempt at damage control, that message is being delivered to millions of people worldwide.
Still, B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell maintains the Games will overcome the snow problems.
‘It's not something we wanted but something that we have to deal with and I can tell you this, this is a great team and they're going to deal with it," Campbell said.
Public relations expert Pamela Groberman says when something other than the truth gets out it's difficult to correct.
"What do you do? Often if you can get a good message out there with a leader, a positive message, an honest message that's the best you can do."
About all tourism officials can do is hope organizers can deliver on the promise of a Games-ready mountain – and hope the jokes go away on their own.
"Once the Games start and people will see what's Cypress Bowl looks like they'll be suitably impressed," said Walt Judas of Tourism Vancouver.
"They'll look at Letterman and wonder why he was saying that. [They'll say] what's the deal? He can't be right. He was joking as he usually does. Once the Games start those myths will be dispelled quickly."
With a report from CTV British Columbia's David Kincaid