December 20th, 2007
Temperatures have been chilly recently in Charlottesville with highs in the 40s, lows in the 30s and even down to the teens, but things are much colder in Nelson County, specifically on Wintergreen Mountain. Though the actual temperature is only a few degrees cooler there is plenty of man made snow despite the above freezing temperatures.
Tod Roberts, Vice President of Snow Operations says, "Wintergreen can make snow above 32 degrees because of the snowmaking process...simply put its water, cooled, under a lot of pressure, mixed with air that's cooled under a lot of pressure"
As it turns out the key to snowmaking is the wet bulb temperature, a combination of ambient temperature and humidity. "The humidity is the most important thing, a 20 degree night with very low humidity, we can make a lot more snow than we can on a 20 degree night with very high humidity"
I asked Tod how the drastic swings in temperature over the past weeks have affected the snowmaking. "That's the nature of the business in virginia and we just roll with the punches...the weather pattern is going to change. Winter is here and were glad to hear that so we're going to start making snow more often"
As of now 2 of 25 trails are open but there are plans to open even more trails this weekend. "We're going to open 4 or 5 more trails for the weekend, so we are in trail opening mode. We're going to try to have tubing for the weekend" and with the holidays just around the corner it is the perfect time to hit the slopes
"Come on up and visit and don't assume that if it's 40 degrees in charlottesville that we're not making snow"