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Snow a Slow Seller in Steinach

Snow's not exactly a rare commodity in Germany these days as large parts of the country are buried under a thick white layer. But a mayor from a small town in eastern Germany still hopes to find buyers for the crystals.

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Steinach's Mayor Maria Greiner shows off her goods

It's been one of the snowiest winters in Germany. Folks in Munich, for example, must be pretty sick and tired of the white splendor by now as heaps of snow have prevented garbage trucks to make their rounds for days.

Reports on the status of trash collection in Steinach, population 4,800, have not made national headlines so far. But at least the town's mayor still seems to be able to look at the bright side of things.

Winter im Thüringer Wald

It's pretty gorgeous in Thuringia during winter

Maria Greiner is usually quite fond of snow, as it helps to bring ski fans to Steinach, which is in the south of the state of Thuringia and not far from the Bavarian border.

This year, however, 1.3 meters (4.2 feet) of snow have piled up and that's way more than necessary.

Going eBay

What to do? Instead of worrying about how to pay for the snow's removal, Greiner decided to take a different approach. Having heard about odd auctions on online marketplace eBay, the mayor decided to join the club.

Schneechaos im Schwarzwald Verkehr, Wetter

Greiner's timing is bad as most parts of southern Germany struggle with too much snow

"We just tried to show that we can help ourselves," she told German public broadcaster MDR, adding that everyone knows how empty municipal coffers are these days.

Bids for Steinach's snow start at one euro ($1.19) per truck load -- delivery not included. Snow-plagued Bavarians as well as bulk-buyers receive a day pass for the town's ski lift to test the product.

Most townspeople aren't particularly impressed by Greiner's idea, however, saying that no one's going to be stupid enough to, well, buy snow.

A boost for tourism?

They may just be right too: Two days into the week-long auction, snow from Steinbach's pristine mountains is not attracting any buyers. Only an offer of lesser-grade, dirtier snow from the town's marketplace has caught the attention of eight bidders so far. But the most anyone's willing to pay is 5.50 euros, which won't exactly balance Steinbach's budget nor do much to help sick children (Greiner has said she plans to donate all proceeds to young cancer victims).

Wetter: Ein Wahlplakat fuer die hessische Kommunalwahl steht am Samstag, 4. Maerz 2006, zwischen schneebedeckten Baeumen in Hanau

Spring's bound to come soon

Be that as it may, Greiner's idea has certainly put Steinach on the map, so to speak. Tourists coming to visit will be able to check out the German Slate Museum. Apart from snow, Steinach used to be famous for its quality styluses.

Should you plan your trip around Easter, you might as well stay for the town's well festival. There are 11 wells throughout Steinach and they're bound to be filled with plenty of water -- if the snow ever melts, that is.

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