Wintergreen Makes Snow

By: Venton Blandin
By: Venton Blandin

November 20, 2006

The Charlottesville area has recently gotten its first taste of winter with temperatures dropping to, or below the freezing point. With those conditions, the Wintergreen Ski Resort doesn't just feel like winter, it looks like it too.

It is beginning to look and sound a lot like winter at the Wintergreen Ski Resort.

"We are one of the few resorts in the country, the only one on the east coast, that has a fully automatic snow-making system. We can can start-up, and make snow on a moment's notice," said Wintergreen Ski Resort Manager Scott Gunnell.

Winter starts up in about a month according to the calendar, but according to temperatures it comes and goes.

The manager of Slopes Services at Wintergreen wants it to look like winter when the temperatures outside drop pretty low.

Scott Gunnel can make that happen with "man-made" snow.

"Here in Virginia, we don't get that much natural snow, so it requires us to make snow to have a ski resort," added Gunnell.

Gunnell is careful not to call the "man-made" snow "fake snow", and points out his snow actually hangs around longer than the real stuff.

"Natural snow will tend to melt much faster than ours. Ours is much more dense, and it is a lot more reliable, and more consistent across the mountain," added Gunnell.

More experienced skiers will notice a difference before those not experienced. Still, Wintergreen crews are ready to spend as much as three days coating the mountain to make things just right for all skiers.

This is the third year the Wintergreen resort has been able to make the snow.

The hi-tech snow-making machines use air pressure and moisture to create the snow.

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