Warm weather hurting ski resorts

WINTERGREEN, VA (WWBT) – If you're thinking about taking a weekend getaway to go skiing or tubing, you might want to check with your resort first. The unseasonably warm temperatures haven't been kind to the ski industry and conditions aren't ideal.

It's like Mother Nature is playing a trick on ski resorts nationwide. At Wintergreen, it's not exactly the usual winter wonderland.

For some visitors instead of hats and gloves this is more like shorts weather. While that may be a slight overstep, you certainly won't be hearing the chattering of teeth on this mountain.

General Manager Hank Thiess gave NBC12 a rundown of the season so far.

"It's true that we haven't gotten off to a great start with winter," he explained. "We've had some setbacks with some of the warmer weather."

Like many resorts in our area, Wintergreen has been limited to nighttime snow making because only then has the mercury dipped down significantly. The beginner and intermediate lifts are taking passengers up the mountain, but the advanced terrain is closed.

Normally on a ski lift, the rider would be able to see white all over but now, there's quite a bit of brown mixed in the picture.

The resort is about 30% open, which is actually better off than many others along the East Coast. Thiess attributes that to a wealth of snow making water and advanced technology.  Their machines can blanket an acre with a foot of snow every hour.

"We'll change things quickly," he said. "By Saturday morning I think we'll have a product that many people will enjoy."

And atop the mountain, dropping temperatures are expected at the end of this week. So maybe a winter wonderland is in the forecast.

Thursday should be a big night for snowmaking and conditions are expected to improve from there.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.