Reluctant Tourist: Wintergreen

This weekend, we are at Wintergreen Resort. Which is nowhere–unless you count its proximity to Nellysford. Which is, like Floyd, kinda pleasantly nowhere.

Wintergreen–an autonomous skiing condo-megalopolis, necessarily built where the snows either come or can be produced, and established close enough to places from which skiers come–Charlottesville, Richmond and DC–and it must keep a pretty large army of service and maintenance folks employed.

And considering the logistics of getting up onto or down off of the mountain for several months of winter, we’re guessing there must be a significant staff housing area amongst all the vaulted, ridge-line chalets that cover a good part of the resort’s 10k-plus acres.

Where does their considerable water supply come from? And does this rocky land pass perk tests for city-scale septic? What happens to all this high-dollar property if/when the economy totally tanks? Or is skiing a sport above the economic drought that afflicts us mere mortal middle-class types?

There is a Nature Center here, I understand. I’m hoping it will be open on a Saturday morning. I’ll stop by. There are some trails I can get to without getting in the car, I think, and if the winds are not too savage today, while Ann attends her CE pharmacy meetings, I’ll carry the camera out and give it a walk around.

No great surprise– this scale and artifice is not my cup of tea. It’s sort of Myrtle Beach of the Mountains. I’m sure there’s a lot of energy and excitement and spandex-romance goes on here in the snow season, which would make it a more interesting place to be people-watching than now.

It was the right thing to come with Ann so she could concentrate on her programs, and to help with the general logistics of getting around. And I can now say I’ve been to Wintergreen. Whoopdeedoo.

But I’m looking forward to kindling a fire in our stove when we get home (the house will be quite cold!), sleeping in my own bed, and drinking tomorrow’s coffee from my own cup. And to internet access without a secret handshake.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Wintergreen sounds a lot like Mountain Village, Colorado, where we just attended a photo festival. Luckily, we were able to stay in Telluride, in the valley below, which is an extremely charming, historic mining town. We rode the gondola each day to the events on the mountain top. Boy, those pseudo alpine village condos and hotels are so dreary. And so big!