Is it safe to leave an above ground pool empty over the winter?

Hi, we have an 18 ft round above ground pool. The poor thing didn't have a fighting chance this past summer, we had two squirrels and a bird meet their fate in it, 8 holes in the liner and cold water so we never swam in it. We tried to keep up with it, but by fall it was filled with leaves and slimy green. We... show more Hi, we have an 18 ft round above ground pool. The poor thing didn't have a fighting chance this past summer, we had two squirrels and a bird meet their fate in it, 8 holes in the liner and cold water so we never swam in it. We tried to keep up with it, but by fall it was filled with leaves and slimy green. We finally drained it completely, cleaned and disinfected it and then patched the holes. Its winter here now, do we have to fill it back up with water and winterize it or could we just leave it emtpy and fill it in the spring and hope for a better season? I don't know how sturdy the pool is without water and I've heard the liner could shrink and then cause it to cave in once we try to fill it again, does anyone have any concrete answers as to what to do with the pool?
Thanks!!
7 answers 7