Could warm clothes be the key to boosting Minneapolis’ winter tourism?

That was on the mind of Mayor Betsy Hodges Friday as she skated around a hockey rink in the middle of TCF Bank Stadium. Hodges spent the day promoting winter tourism around the city, including a stop at Theodore Wirth Park to greet snowshoers and cross-country skiers

Hodges mused that offering clothing to people from warmer climates might convince them to take a winter trip to Minneapolis. She came up with the idea during a recent vacation to Jamaica, where she encountered a restaurant server who had never seen snow.

“I said, ‘Do you want to see snow?’ And she said, ‘Yes,’” Hodges said. “I said ‘So if I told you that we had a package deal: When you arrive we would give you a hat and scarf, gloves, a coat and boots…would that make you more likely to come?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’”

Just how that would work, and who would sponsor it, remains open-ended. “It’s in the 'tell-everyone-about-it-and-see-what-happens' stage,” Hodges said.

She added that the city might consider adding more winter events, such as a winter festival before or after the annual Loppet races, to create the “Best 10 Days of Winter.”

“Winter is an asset to the city of Minneapolis,” Hodges said. “And it’s something we should promote to the rest of the world.”