December 5, 2012
The warm weather is delaying the opening of Wintergreen Resort. The resort had planned to open for skiing this weekend, but opening day has been postponed until at least December 15.
"We haven't figured out a way to make snow at seventy degrees," joked General Manager Hank Thiess.
But it was a serious problem last winter, when warm temperatures caused the resort to take a financial hit. In the off season, the resort has upgraded its snow-making capacity. When temperatures eventually drop below freezing, the resort's 450 snow guns will be able to pump out snow twice as fast as last year.
"We can make 37 feet of snow on a football field in 24 hours with our new system," said Thiess.
"Virginia can have a fickle climate," said Jay Roberts, the Vice President of Resort Operations. "You need the snow to slide on, and as long as we can make more of it, it's just a lot more snow and a lot more fun for folks in this region."
Wintergreen can make more snow thanks to a water tank that can hold five million gallons. That is just one of many investments the new owners have made.
Thiess says, even though it is disappointing to not open this weekend, the resort typically does not have many skiers in early December anyway. They hope that by the holidays, the slopes will be full of snow and people.