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Why Wintergreen Resort made 'difficult decision' to end ski season early

Posted at 7:56 PM, Feb 24, 2023

NELSON COUNTY, Va. -- Officials with Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County have "made the difficult decision" to wrap up the winter season this Sunday after southeastern Virginia saw two consecutive weeks of record warm temperatures far above seasonal norms for February.

Officials with the resort announced Tuesday that multiple slopes would be closed through Friday since there was not enough snow.

While officials planned to resume snowmaking Friday evening and reopen slopes Saturday, staffers said the warm temps have put a dent in those plans.

Wintergreen staffers said a few select few slopes will be open this weekend.

"Please check our website and mountain cameras for the latest information on conditions, and what will be open for skiing and riding on Saturday and Sunday," officials wrote. "All Mission: Affordable season passes will be valid both Saturday and Sunday this weekend."

Additionally, resort officials said lift ticket sales may be limited. 

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WTVR CBS 6 Chief Meteorologist Zach Daniel said the resort has a "great snowmaking setup," but that it just has not been cold enough to make snow at night.

"When it gets cold enough, and it just has to get cold enough at night, they can crank out tons of snow," Daniel said. "It can hit 60 in the daytime, it gets a little bit slushy, a bit like mashed potatoes that you're skiing on, but they can make tons of snow. It just has not been a good winter with warm nights."

Daniel said February 2023 is the second warmest on record.

"I think that we will finish the month, with four days left, in the number two spot," Daniel said.

The record warmest February was 133 years ago in 1890 at 49.9°. The third warmest was 2017 at 49.0° and the fourth warmest was 1976 at 48.5°.

"So nobody living today could experience that. So this is the warmest, for anybody alive, for February warmth," Daniel said. "And unfortunately, it has taken its toll on the ski resorts here."

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.

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