First Snow of the fall is just around the corner (photograph by Dima Holmes)

Greetings from close to the end of summer. We had hoped for an earlier newsletter, but were delayed by an exciting, busy, and productive summer.

We have been busy making major, positive changes. You may recall that The Wintergreen Real Estate Company was sold to the Resort operators, the Pacific Group, last April. Wintergreen Resort and Wintergreen Real Estate are now part of the same company. Wintergreen Real Estate still has an office in the Stoney Creek but also has now the only real estate office in the Mountain Inn. I was asked to be the Managing Broker for the resort real estate group so I am also deeply involved in the day-to-day planning for the Resort.

These are as exciting times. The Pacific Group is fully committed to the future success of the Wintergreen community and have and will continue to invest in the Resort. They are not deterred by the occasional bad ski season. They are here for the long term. The decision to hire Rod Kessler, an outstanding resort manager, is an example. Rod was General Manager at Stowe (www.stowe.com) and Revelstoke (www.revelstokemountainresort.com) before coming to Wintergreen. He and his staff are turning things around. Get to know him. His door is always open.

What is happening with at our resort? Here is a list of projects both completed and underway.

  • Expansion of the new exercise area in the fitness center at the Wintergreen Spa: Completed.
  • New locker areas and exercise facilities in Stoney Creek. Completed.
  • Members ski locker room expansion at the Mountain Inn. Under construction, to be completed by Ski season.
  • New Indoor tennis bubble at Devils Knob. Under construction
  • Rehab of the Mountain Inn. Partially complete, completed by fall for ski season 2019)
  • New ski lodge area across from our office in the Mountain Inn. Under construction, to be completed by fall for ski season 2019)
  • New ski rental area improvements. Ready for this ski season.
  • Breakfast & Lunch and Coffee Terrace Café in the Mountain Inn List. Under construction, ready for ski season.
  • New boutique shop in the Mountain Inn. Open now.
  • New exclusive Real Estate Offices in the Mountain Inn. Open now.

Wintergreen is getting the recognition it deserves. As our general manager, Rod Kessler, recently stated,

We don’t do any PR to try to garner awards, and we don’t lobby any of the readers’ polls.  These results are unsolicited and unfettered. We could certainly be better at a lot of things, and we’re working on new levels of service within the resort with the Deliver Awesome Program and new levels of lodging with the Platinum Program, so we clearly are not resting on our laurels”. 

Here is are some of the awards Wintergreen received in the first half of 2018.

  • Tennis Resorts Online
    • #1 Tennis Academy in North America
    • #3 Tennis Academy in the World
    • #13 Tennis Resort in the World
  • Virginia Living Magazine – Best of Virginia Issue, #1 Best Resort Central Region
  • Washington Family Magazine – Best Local Getaway, #1 Resort
  • Parent’s Magazine – Editor’s Choice Award
  • Blue Ridge Country Magazine, Best of the Mountains Issue (Reader Poll)
    • Best Spa – #1
    • Best Couples Getaway – #1
    • Best Golf Resort – #1
    • Best Environmental Organization – The Wintergreen Nature Foundation – #1

The real estate market is improving this year as well. There is optimism in the general national market. People are more confident in real estate markets, both primary and secondary. Interest rates are still reasonable, making purchases more affordable. People at Wintergreen are seeing the results of the Pacific Group’s investment in the infrastructure of the community.

Real estate sales have been increasing, especially in Stoney Creek. Charlottesville prices have become very expensive so many who are looking in and around Charlottesville are discovering the great home values at Stoney Creek. I can be at The University within 35 minutes from our house in Stoney Creek. If you have any questions about the market or current real estate values, please don’t hesitate to drop me a note or call. My office is still 434 361-0500 and my cell is 434 825-0866.

Here’s a summary of sales year-to-date.

ON THE MOUNTAIN

  • 44 Houses ($154,800 to $1,800,000)
  • 12 House sales pending ($137,000 to $665,000)
  • 5 Townhouses ($195,500 to $260,000)
  • 49 Condos ($45,000 to $322,500)
  • 18 Condo sales pending ($59,000 to $269,000)

IN THE VALLEY

  • 26 Homes in Stoney Creek ($230,000 to $770,000)
  • 4 Home sales pending ($329,000 to $545,000)
  • 1 townhouse ($299,500)

HOMESITES Sold

Mountain

  • 2 lot ($8500 to $66,000)
  • Stoney Creek
  • 5 lots ($13,500 to $140,000)

Want to know what’s going to happen this winter? Here’s an idea. One of my colleagues, Kyle Lynn, an engineer, our principal broker, and ex-Navy pilot and finds all this forecasting stuff on the Internet fascinating. He recently sent this to me, and I am passing it on to you.

Scientists are now talking about the impact of an expected El Niño Modoki. Modoki is Japanese for “same but different”. Unlike a conventional El Niño, which is characterized by warmer, non-standard sea surface temperatures in the Pacific near Peru, El Niño Modoki is associated with warmer, non-standard sea surface temperatures in the central tropical Pacific and cooler temperatures in both near Peru and near the Phillipines. El Niño Modoki causes areas in the Mid-Atlantic that get cold during the winter with El Niño to get even colder. With a weak to moderate El Niño, the southern tropical jet stream tends to be pretty active, and is even more active with an El Niño Modoki. If cold air is in place when moisture arrives, then the precipitation will be frozen.

If these trends continue into the fall, scientists believe that the upcoming winter will be one of the coldest and snowiest we’ve seen in the Mid-Atlantic in several years. Technically, the last “big snow” was the huge snowstorm in January 2016 that dumped several feet of snow across portions of Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic. While 2013-14 and 2014-15 were active at times, you have to go all the way back to the winter of 2009-10 (which was an El Niño Modoki) when we saw our last “active” winter. Caution: just like El Niño, each El Niño Modoki is different, but if it brings a cold, snowy winter, that would be great for skiing.

Finally, on a personal note, our sons, Will and John, recently got married. Will and Stephanie Wang were married at Verulam Farm just outside of Charlottesville in November and John and Taylor Lee got married at Mount Ida Farm in April just outside of Scottsville. During this process I learned that the Charlottesville area (Wintergreen included) is the Number ONE wedding destination in the United States. I might also mention that Wintergreen does a great job with weddings. It is affordable, everyone can stay in the same place, and there is plenty to do. In case you have kids looking for a wedding venue at some point other than the mountain, here are the websites: www.verulamfarm.comhttp://www.verulamfarm.com and www.mountidafarm.com.

From Tim Merrick

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