We got our pool back in August, took forever to get the deck done (right before the first snowfall in Nov.). It was too late to cover her up for the winter (SO windy and cold by that point - I couldn't imagine doing it then) so I told my DH that we shouldn't do it this year. Not knowing what to expect we lowered the water about 6" below the skimmer (it was on accident really but glad we did). Between the rain & snow we only had to add about 4" of water before it rained and added another inch after we hooked the filter back up. A couple of bottles of chlorine and a couple of hours of vacuuming - I cannot imagine having an easier pool opening then this!!
When I used to have to do it at my mom's house back in the day it'd take forever to uncover, clean cover, fold, store and the water under the cover was disgusting - I think I like the ease of our newly discovered uncovered method!! Closing was painless, opening was painless and we were using the pool (as cold as it is) as soon as we got all the debris from spring flowering season cleaned out.
Funny enough we mentioned it to the dude at the pool store (while looking for deck furniture) and he said: "You don't see us cover our pools in the winter, do you?" It was early March and sure enough, pools were uncovered.