Leading article: Winter wonderland

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The Independent Online

We're familiar by now with official bodies complaining of the "wrong kind" of snow. But boasting of an abundance of snow that is simply not there? That surely has to be a new species of bureaucratic offence.

One wonders how long the Scottish Tourist Board expected to get away with using archive footage from the 1990s of glacial conditions on Scottish mountains to attract winter sports tourists from around the world.

Of course, some unwitting skiers, snowboarders and rock climbers might have been tempted by those images of deep, white vistas. But when they discovered the less than Alpine slopes, they would presumably have been rather unhappy, piste-off even. And they would probably not have been shy of letting others back home know the rather slushy truth about the factual content of the Scottish adverts.

Yet the Scottish Tourist Board is surely missing a trick. Instead of attempting to promote Scotland as the ultimate winter sports destination, it should use the milder weather conditions that now prevail to market the Highlands as an all-year-round place of interest for travellers and tourists. After all, there are as many people who enjoy walking sedately on magnificent hills, rather than sliding down them at precarious speeds with only a pair of poles for balance.

Perhaps the Scottish Tourist Board could also make a virtue of its changed climactic circumstances by adapting as its new slogan the words of Mae West: "Welcome to Scotland: We used to be snow white, but we drifted."

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