- The Washington Times - Monday, December 18, 2006

LOS ANGELES — Pamela Anderson gets one every year. Jennifer Love Hewitt is on this week’s schedule.

They’re called “snow jobs,” and Hollywood celebrities and residents of tony neighborhoods are paying thousands of dollars to turn their emerald green lawns into winter wonderlands, thanks to a snow-blowing device that deposits tons of icy chips on grass and flowering rose bushes.

In a city where illusion is often reality, snow jobs are the latest luxury.

“On the weekends, we do about 30 a day,” said Freddy Rymond, who works for Newhall Ice Co.

As Mr. Rymond holds a black plastic tube that sprays the snow particles onto a client’s yard, another worker in a truck feeds giant blocks of ice into a shredder.

The cost for the snow: about $160 per ton — and it lasts for only a few hours.

“This is our minimum, about $1,000,” Mr. Rymond said. “It can run to about $30,000. Most of our jobs are between 20 and 30 tons. It’s getting more popular every year.”

Residents of these upscale neighborhoods vie to have the lawn that most resembles the shimmering scene out of the holiday film classic “White Christmas.”

And while cities such as Buffalo reportedly spend millions annually for snow removal, Los Angelenos — many of whom grew up on the East Coast — love the nostalgia and beauty of snow, even if it does come from a giant blender.

The nearby city of Hawthorne recently spent $5,000 to treat the local children to a snow party.

“We do it for the studios, for anybody,” Mr. Rymond said. “The appeal is not having to shovel it. You can play in it in the warm weather. When we’re tired of it, we just go in the house and forget it.”

Here in the upscale Cheviot Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles, it’s a balmy 70-degree afternoon.

Michelle Hunt, 34, president of the Beverly Hills Moms Offering Moms Support Club, is throwing a Christmas party for her friends and their children. She decided to get a snow job after seeing one last year.

“We’ve always wanted to do the snow. In L.A., kids never get to see snow,” said Mrs. Hunt, who moved here from Connecticut 15 years ago.

Across the road, a gardener is mowing a lawn. In front of Mrs. Hunt’s house, the grass is being coated with 5 tons of ice. The ice chipper hums and the white spray chills the air. What leaves the chipper aren’t not exactly snowflakes, more like snow nuggets.

The reaction is curious. Many of the children have never seen snow. The first reaction, is of course, to eat it. The second is to lie down in it.

“I like it,” said Malcolm Gossett, 7. He’s only seen “real snow” one time, in Boston. The children wear mittens and boots even though it’s so warm they could be in bathing suits.

The outside stereo speakers play “White Christmas” while little figures in pink and white scramble up the small hill and wait for their turn on the sleds.

Mrs. Hunt, however, does not look happy.

She apparently envisioned a blanket of white. Instead, it’s a thin crust of crushed ice, like you’d get in a margarita.

“I don’t think 5 tons is enough,” Mrs. Hunt said. “Next year, I’m definitely going for 10.”

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