Sometime around 1949, my father decided to winter the pool empty when the canvas cover ripped. The pool popped at the deep end by about three inches. No damage was done to the pool (5/8" welded steel WWII salvage naval warplate) or the plumbing (1.5" galvanized). We eventually regraded and just ran the pool that way until 2003. Few people ever noticed the water was lower at the deep end. When we installed our first skimmer in the 60's, it went in the middle of a long side and worked fine.
We wintered empty for over 50 years. Every Memorial Day weekend, the whole family would hit it with scrubbrushes, Spic'n'Span and a garden hose, then we fired up the dedicated Artesian well and filled 40K gal in 18 hours.
You would probably not be so lucky with gunite and plastic pipes.
Durk thanks for your reply! I will take your post under consideration when I shall decide how to winterize.
We have low water table here so that's not a concern of mine and the pool is reinforced so it can stand against the ground pressure when the pool is empty so that is not any concern either.
What's worries me is how the tileplates and the thinset reacts when the pool dries out. I know that it's important to empty the pool slowly to prevent tensions but if the plates are better off with water during winter I will let it be that way. Problem is that they might freeze off if I can't either circulate the water when the temp drops or insulate the poolcover, I have solutions for this but both are more expensive and complicated. It would be an easy fix this first year just to empty it.
Like you described in your post is a chance of a total cleaning of the pool before start up something that attracts me. We have relative cheap tap water with good quality so the extra expense would be moderate. Salt and CYA is what I need to add when I fill it again. The fact that I don't have to wait for the temparature to drop before closing is an extra plus aswell and most important! I don't have to worry about tile plates that might freeze off.