Mild winter weather is keeping skiers home

Local News

NELSON COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The mild winter in our area has not been kind to many ski resorts.

Wintergreen Resort says a lack of snow is not the problem. They can make plenty. The problem, they say, is the perception.

“Nothing’s really been that different, given the warm weather,” said Michael O’Neill

The 14-year-old Charlottesville resident and his family usually go skiing at Wintergreen twice a year, but they almost didn’t go this winter.

“Yeah, at first we were a little reluctant,” he said, “because we weren’t sure about how the slopes were going to be, but then we got an email that said that everything was going to be fine.”

With about 400 snow guns blanketing the mountain, he was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the trails.

“It’s been great. Most of them are open, which kind of surprised me considering how warm it is.”

According to Wintergreen’s slope status on Monday, 15 slopes are open with an average base of 28 inches.

“Sometimes people have a hard time remembering that just because there’s no snow in their backyard, doesn’t mean there’s no snow here in the mountains,” said Zachary Marlowe, the Director of Operations for Wintergreen Resort. “We are about 3,000 vertical feet up from the valley, so temperatures are cooler up here.”

He says visitation has been down this season because of that misconception, which has a ripple effect. A busy mountain, he said, means a better economy for Nelson County.

“It’s great for tourism dollars. It’s good for all of us. The tide rises all ships, so when we stay busy, the valley stays busy and the restaurants down below.”

At the end of the year, Marlowe will compare their visitor count against previous years.

“We do expect to be slightly off to a degree, but again, the people who are coming out are having a really good time out here.”

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