If it's a white Christmas in the Siberian town of Myski, suspicious residents might want to look around for some empty cans of paint.
The mining town's mayor has apologized after it was discovered that the snow on a children's sledding hill was painted white -- apparently to cover coal dust.
Mayor Dmitry Ivanov said the chief of the company responsible for the town’s development has been reprimanded for painting the hill white, according to a statement on the town's official website on December 19.
"I apologize to residents whose New Year's mood has been spoiled by this incident," Ivanov said in the statement.
In Russia, the big New Year's holiday is followed by Orthodox Christmas on January 7.
The apology and reprimand came after videos posted online showed parents who brought their children to the sledding hill saying it was covered with white paint.
In a tradition said to date back to Potemkin villages of the tsarist era, local officials eager to make a good impression sometimes have features like fences and building facades freshly painted ahead of visits by leaders.