Satirical Semite: Turning L.A. into a Ski Resort

It is time to make good on Irving Berlin’s dream of a white Christmas.
December 24, 2020

2020 may have brought biting loneliness, economic hardship and major pressure, but we can still end on a high note. It is time to make good on Irving Berlin’s dream of a white Christmas and turn Los Angeles into a ski resort.

There is a justification for this, and it is hidden in plain sight. The original first verse of the famous song usually gets edited out, and it is actually about some guy in Los Angeles dreaming of snow: “The sun is shining, the grass is green/ The orange and palm trees sway/ There’s never been such a day/ In Beverly Hills, L.A.,/ But it’s December the twenty-fourth/ And I am longing to be up North. I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…”

It sounds like Irving Berlin had never lived in a Northern climate, where a snowy winter can come with months of cloud cover, short days, rain, precipitation, accompanying head colds and mopey faces. Berlin may dream of being up North, but I’m dreaming of winter in my spiritual home on the Malibu shores.

Ironically, Berlin lived in Europe until the age of 5, where he was originally named Israel Beilin. Some accounts say he was born in Tyumen, Siberia, others say he was from the shtetl of Tolochin in Imperial Russia (now Belarus). Berlin lived the rest of his life in New York, so it sounds like he got the freezing Decembers he dreamed of. Personally, I’d still choose Malibu. Although with the song royalties, Berlin’s descendants could buy up half of southern Florida and enjoy the sun while Northerners freeze.

Some modifications will have to be made if we are to adapt Los Angeles into a fully-functioning or even partly-functioning ski resort, although this may be welcomed as a pleasant distraction whilst the city is in dysfunction. To make up for Los Angeles’ lack of snow — it hasn’t snowed in the city since January 1962 — perhaps we can entice Elon Musk to re-route his underground hyperloop so it connects New York to Los Angeles, allowing us to ship in snow from the East Coast. This should ease up their harsh winter, but failing that, we can send some Ubers on a round trip to Northern California and stuff their cars with snow. A great choice would be to retrieve some from freezing Yosemite, or as a friend once printed on her range of t-shirts, “Yo, Semite!”

A key feature of every decent ski resort is a run of moguls, the large mounds that have to be navigated as you descend the mountain. In lieu of these naturally-occurring oversized bumps, we can use the other naturally-occurring mogul — disgraced Hollywood executives — and tie them down to the mountain to serve as an obstacle for people to avoid (which conveniently serves as an accurate metaphor for the dark side of their careers). The first strapped-down mogul run can be called “Weinstein’s Regret.”

We can use the other naturally-occurring mogul — disgraced Hollywood executives.

The entire Santa Monica mountain range will suffice for a spacious ski resort, with the Mulholland ridge reserved for cross-country skiing and the Malibu mountains converted into more perilous high-octane slopes. Covering Malibu with snow will also provide residents with an impenetrable fire barrier. To make space for the resort, residents will also have to forcibly relocate. Apart from that, and the fact that a freezing Malibu will lose billions of dollars’ worth of property value, it is a win-win.

There may be problems to overcome, but Los Angeles is a city of possibility and a place of creative results. It is a city of angels, a city of dreams and could be a city of ski lifts. Fairfax Avenue’s steep incline will make for a great straight downhill run from Hollywood Blvd down to Santa Monica Blvd, although skiers may prefer to walk back up after their energy boost from a cold-pressed green juice.

Obviously, we will have to adjust certain terminology around the ski slopes. The potentially offensively-titled song “White Christmas,” for example, will have to be renamed. Instead, we’ll hire a lot of unemployed actors and have them give hourly renditions of “there’s no business like snow business.” Thank you, I’m here all season.

Marcus J Freed is an actor & filmmaker. www.marcusjfreed.com and on social @marcusjfreed

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