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SNOWLESSNESS DELIGHTS SOME, IRKS OTHERS

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Sitting on a curb and dressed only in shorts and a T-shirt, Jason Jenson, 14, who had just finished playing some basketball, said a snowless winter in the city is fine with him.

"I wish there was more snow in the mountains," he said. "But down here, it's great."It may not look like the last part of December, but people out and about during this holiday week say the lack of snow hasn't put a damper on their spirits.

Vickie Pratt, director secretary at Hogle Zoo, said more than 500 people came to see the animals on Friday. She said the weather is keeping people in good moods and making the zoo an especially popular spot this year.

"It's usually busy during the holiday season, but this has been an important record-breaking year because of the nice weather."

The unseasonably dry weather found Jim Nielsen brushing up on his golf strokes at the Forest Dale Golf Course. And even though Nielsen would prefer still warmer weather, he said the green is fine with him.

"I don't like skiing, so I love no snow," he said.

Nielsen said he doesn't mind snow in the mountains. In fact, he wouldn't care if it snowed every day in the mountains if that took care of drought problems. He just wants it to be warm and snow-free in the valley.

"Especially since Christmas is over and snow isn't needed for the aesthetic value," he said.

Nielsen said he wished the course was open so he could do more than just practice his golfing technique. But Ralph Pizza, a friend visiting from San Diego, was glad the two had the course to themselves.

"He's giving me lessons," Pizza explained.

An 81-year-old woman, pulling a cart of groceries, said the lack of snow is a blessing in disguise.

"I enjoy walking," she said. "But when I can't see the sidewalk I don't like it."

The woman said she enjoys doing her own shopping. She lives only a few blocks from a grocery store, but she said when it snows she is unable to pull her cart, so she must wait for a good day, or she just doesn't get out.

"I could get a ride, but I like to use my legs and keep going, so it's nice to have snow-free walks."

Adults may find the unusually dry winter appealing. But many children long for a more typical winter.

"I want snow," 8-year-old Michael Lassig said.

His friend Trevor Jacobs agreed.

The boys said they missed past years of snowball fights, sleigh rides and snowman-building. They said this year they got only one chance for fun in the snow with the Thanksgiving snowstorm.

"We got out in the snow and played around that morning, but that's about it."

Eleven-year-old Steven Lassig said the lack of snow is both good and bad.

"Sometimes in the morning I like to play with my dog in the snow, so it's a bummer. But in the evening, I like it because I can stay out later," he said.

But if Steven could choose?

"I'd take snow. Definitely."