Higher elevations

A cold snap produced a thin blanket of snow at the higher elevations to start the week.

Ready, set, no.

Despite a cold snap that produced a thin blanket of snow at the higher elevations to start the week and had skiers and riders trying to convince themselves it was going to stay that way, Stowe Mountain Resort is not able to make its Nov. 19 opening day.

Resort officials say a Thursday forecast that called for temperatures approaching 60 — if you’re reading this while sitting outside in shorts and a T-shirt, you’ll know if that came true — made it impossible to make enough snow to ensure an opening. Fingers are still crossed at getting operations cranked up before Thanksgiving, but everything is at the mercy of the temperatures and precipitation.

“While we work hard to meet our target opening dates each year, the date is just that, a target. Our snowmaking systems throughout Stowe Mountain Resort are incredibly powerful and can make a lot of progress fast, but we also need Mother Nature’s cooperation. We’re as excited as anyone to open for the season and hope to do so as soon as possible,” Jeff Wise, the resort’s communications manager, said.

Peak tickets limited

In other news from Vail Corporation, which owns and operates Stowe Mountain Resort:

• All 34 North American resorts will limit their lift ticket sales during the three most popular holiday periods in order to make sure Epic Pass holders get first dibs. Christmas and New Year’s Eve week, Dec. 25-Jan. 2; Martin Luther King weekend, Jan. 14-17; and Presidents’ Week, Feb. 18-27.

Guests visiting the resort during those holidays should buy their lift tickets in advance to make sure they don’t get blocked out. Ticket availability is available on the resort websites.

• Vail is using all that data it collects through its EpicMix smartphone app as well as historic data on lift line wait times to better design the lift maze layouts and help load skiers and riders more smoothly, with fewer traffic jams. There will be more staff on hand to help manage the lift line maze at the busiest lifts.

• The EpicMix app will now include a feature called EpicMix Time, which will use list wait time data, current snowfall totals, day of the week and period of the season to create a model that aims at predicting lift wait times. So, if you’ve just headed down Gondolier and notice the Sensation Lift is virtually empty while the line at the Quad is stacking up, you can scoot over to Spruce and do laps while everyone else waits.

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