At least, those people going downhill skiing are. Ba dum bum. Saw this article today, and it recalled several conversations I was involved in yesterday about whether the central Puget Sound can ever be a four season tourism and visitors destination. Apparently, we do great in the summer, could use a lot of help in spring and fall, and are relatively dead in the winter.
Now, I’m aware that it’s dark and rainy here in January, but we’re also one of the only major metropolitan regions within very short driving distance to a great set of mountains. I’ve got friends in San Francisco that drive 4 hours every weekend to go to Lake Tahoe (which, granted, is really great skiiing), but when the new Snoqualmie Casino opens, we’ll have the same proximity between gaming and skiiing as them PLUS the opportunity to end your night at the ballet or a Tom Douglas restaurant.
Someone yesterday asked why we don’t have a world-class ski resort here, referencing the amazing growth that Whistler (also farther from its metropolitan region than our mountains) has had in that regard. I wonder if it’s a chicken and egg: do we not have a great ski resort here because we don’t have good winter tourism or do we not have good winter tourism in part because of the lack of a great ski resort.
One thing seems to me to be definitely true. As one of our Tourism/Visitors Working Group members said, “We need to make rain cool.” Stop feeling bad about how much it rains here, and turn it into an advantage and a draw: “Come to Seattle – Let it Rain On Your Parade” (with a picture of people in a parade doing various fun indoor and outdoor activities). I’ve actually been trying to figure out what the most fun thing you do outside in the rain is, and then get someone to start a festival here celebrating it.
CONTEST ANNOUNCEMENT: The person who comments below with the best suggestion for the most fun thing for a tourist to do outside in the rain wins a free ticket to the upcoming Prosperity Partnership Fall Luncheon. Let the ideas rain down.