It seems that emergency numbers are prominently displayed in every
household. Everywhere you look, there are contacts for police, fire, medi-
cal problems, marriage counseling, and pretty much everything includ-
ing outbreaks of head lice, but have you ever seen any information about
whom to contact when it’s ski season and there just isn’t any snow? Well,
this is a big problem and not just for skiers. I regularly get calls from snow-
boarders, snowmobilers, and anyone who enjoys tromping around in the
white, winter fluff.
IT WAS A dreary start to the winter season here in the East. For the first
time in recent memory, chairlifts across the region were stationary over
Thanksgiving and the golf courses were drawing bigger crowds than ski areas. But as my new business endeavor has proven, every dark cloud does
have a silver lining.
Excuse me a moment. I hate to interrupt your reading, but I have a call
coming in from Rutland, Vermont.
“Hello, this is the No Snow Emergency Hot Line. Could you please give
me your name and credit card number? …
“Thank you, Steve. Now, how can I help you? …
It seems that the most common manifestation of NSD is FO. Oh, I’m
sorry. Sometimes I resort to professional jargon. NSD stands for No Snow
Disorder, and FO is what those suffering from NSD do — Freak Out.
This is a very real syndrome. Despondency, shortness of breath, irritabil-
ity and delusional behavior are among the symptoms. But I’ve found that a
well-trained professional, such as myself, can really help those who are in
trouble, just as you saw with the caller from Rutland.
“Excuse me? I can’t understand you…
“Please calm down and breathe deeply. That’s better. Now, what’s this
about the view? …
“Well, green is a pretty color, and as for the absence of snow? Some say
that snow’s overrated – way too cold…
“Now Steve, you don’t have to be rude. It was a casual remark, and really,
there’s no need to involve my mother in the conversation…
There’re a variety of strategies that I employ to help those suffering from
NSD. First off, I try to calm the victim down to get them into a rational
frame of mind. Then we find someone to blame. I generally point the fin-
ger at the Canadians for hoarding all the cold air, or the Coloradoans for
being selfish with their snowfall, or even Al Gore for inventing climate
“I DO get it. You’re a skier. It’s the middle of December, and there’s no
snow anywhere in the East. I can feel your pain…
If that doesn’t work, for a small fee, of course, I’ll have my NSD First
Response Team deliver a cooler full of snow cones. When applied to the
temple, snow cones can have a very soothing affect.
“There, there, that’s better. Did you try blaming
someone? Finding scapegoats is a healthy
exercise that can sometimes help. But
for now, just open the window
and breathe in some nice fresh
“Yes, I imagine there’s
already plenty of fresh
air on that ledge outside the eighth-story
window. I didn’t think
Rutland had any buildings that tall. Can you
see the peaks of Killing-ton and Pico? …
“Now, don’t get started
with the sobbing again. I realize there’s no snow up there in
the mountains. Come on back inside
and we can talk about it…
“What? Of course, your ski boots will make it
hard to walk back along the ledge to the window. But
you got out there; surely you can return. Just do the best you can, damn
it! Look, this is kind of a bad time for me. I’m pretty busy at the moment
writing a column. Can I call you back in, say, an hour or so?
“Hello, Steve? Hello? Hello? Drat! He must have dropped the phone.”
Sorry about the interruption. Now, where were we? Oh yes, why I established the No Snow Emergency Hot Line business.
When the snow eventually comes, which it always does sooner or later, my job is still not
over. There are often PTNSD issues
to deal with. Oh, there I go again
with the jargon. That would
stand for Post Traumatic No
Snow Disorder. Any rise in
the temperature above
freezing could trigger
an attack. Or, heaven
forbid that it should
rain. Even the mention
of the “R-word” will
have our glassy-eyed
sufferers pleading for
snow cones and clinging to
their skis for weeks at a time.
Yes, this has been a lucrative
enterprise. Despite the sluggish
economy, business has been booming.
And best of all, I have a solid fallback plan in
place for those seasons when the snow suddenly blankets the region and then never stops accumulating. In that case, I cater
to the other 50 percent of the population. As long as people keep fretting
about things they can’t control, my business model is looking pretty good.
As a matter of fact, I see a few flakes in the air, and a good snowfall appears to be imminent. Remind me to change my website to TMSD.org and
my phone will never stop ringing. Oops, sorry. That stands for Too Much
Maybe I should get back to Steve in Rutland and let him know that snow
could be on the way.
“Hello, Steve? Hello? Hello?”