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Jay Peak - December 14th thru 16th 2012

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I've just returned from a weekend trip to Jay Peak in VT and thought I'd provide my thoughts and feedback.

 

We travelled up from Boston on the Friday and the journey took us about 4hrs 30mins (with a quick stop in Lincoln for a bite to eat and a restroom visit to break the journey up)   When we arrived at Jay it was snowing slightly, which was weird as there hadnt been any sign of snow throughout New Hampshire or Vermont on the way up.  We'd been told about the "Jay Cloud" where Jay managed to get snow when it wasnt snowing anywhere else, but didnt believe it - this was all the proof we needed!

 

The actual resort is well layed out, with all condo's ski in and ski out and the hotel right at the bottom of the main slope.  All runs seem to converge at this main point but there are lots of facilites and eating options so I dont forsee this as a potential for crowding issues.  It should be noted that it didnt seem anywhere near full when we were there (despite being told that they were nearly full when we spoke to them earlier in the week - if this was full, then it they were AWESOME at preventing crowding)

 

The skiing (and that's what you'll be interested in, right?) was so-so.  They only had 13 runs open, and in typical East Coast resort fashion that really meant THREE top to bottom runs (with a couple of options as you headed down to keep in interesting)  TWO of these top to bottom options were black diamond runs off to one one side of the mountain, that actually required an uphill walk with skis to return to the main ski area.   The runs were hard packed and in places pretty icy, I was dissapointed with the level of effort put into snow making.   I'd skied Loon Mountain the weekend before and was so impressed with how well the runs were kept up to standard.  No ice patchs, well services and (it seemed) almost costantly topped up to retain snow quality.  It seemed to me that Jay Peak was saving itself for the Xmas week, but with temperatures down to below 20 degrees for the whole of our stay, I have to say that I was really dissapointed with their efforts.

 

Now, on Sunday, I saw the potential of Jay Peak as the snow started to arrive and we saw how enjoyable the mountain could be with a little bit of cover. They still only had 13 runs open though, you'd have thought they would be making an effort to get more open?  Mind you,  I was impressed enough to enquire as to a weekend away in March next year - we willl be back. 

 

So if the skiing was pretty poor, how come we want to go back?

 

Well as a family resort, it really is a quality operation.  They have a lot of options to cover you should the snow not be great, with an ice rink, great restaurants and most important of all a HUGE waterpark with slides, surf machines and (great for ma and pa) a bar!

 

We spent the whole of Saturday evening in the water park and the kids loved it.  The hot tub and slides even made it on my to do list and this facilty really helped with the whole weekend.

 

So, in conclusion?   They should make more effort on snowmaking.  Loon Mountain was SO much better that it really showed Jay Peak up as lacking.   The potential looks awesome.  I really want to go back when the mountain is fully open.  They need snow and it looks like they are getting it right now.  The resort, as a whole, is fantastic, I would happily return.

post #2 of 13

I was up there Sunday afternoon through Monday evening with my son and nephew.  We probably crossed paths in the water park.  We got to the hotel Jay in the afternoon and hit the water park then skied Monday, water parked again and left.  We would have stuck around but the forecast is for rain today.

 

First, I have been skiing Jay Peak since 1983 and I am leery of all the development going on there. 

 

Second, I have to admit the water park is awesome!  we had a blast.

 

Third, I too called about reservations last week and was told they were almost full.  I replied I will take my chances thank you.  I called Sunday morning with snow falling to enquire about coming up that evening and was told "We have a ton of availability."   You should know that every ski area in the country has "a ton of availability" the week before Christmas.  Why do you think they were offering such a good deal in the first place?

 

Fourth, Jay has never had great snowmaking and grooming.  It is a natural snow paradise when you hit it right but it is hit or miss.

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

Jay has never had great snowmaking and grooming.  It is a natural snow paradise when you hit it right but it is hit or miss.

 

Hey.  Dont get me wrong.  I'm kinda in love with the place and I can see LOTS of potential.  My issue is that $750m should probably pay for some better grooming and snow management. 

 

Simple answer?  Dont ski early season.  

 

I'm back in March for some serious exploration of that whole complex.

post #4 of 13

Jay has always been like that. You can have a great day there early season, and you can have terrible conditions mid season. I have been there after it rained a few days prior and was followed by a cold snap (and up there cold means really cold) and the mountain was so bad it shouldn't have even been open. Being a New Englander, I'm no stranger to icy conditions, but this was downright dangerous. My wife and I made a couple of runs and left, I was scared for our safety. And typical to what you observed, no snowmaking going on, and dam little grooming. Don't get me wrong, I love the place, but check the weather before you go, because if it rains and freezes, that's what you're going to be skiing on till it snows again. They make just enough snow to get the place up and running, but after Christmas, you're pretty much at the mercy of whatever Mother Nature throws at you. Of course, if you catch it right, there's no better place to be. Plan your trips accordingly.

post #5 of 13

Jay is there for the trees, not early season groomers.  If I was looking to ski groomers, Jay would never be where I would go.  Even mid-season the groomers are bottle-necked and icy often just a day after a storm - all the snow all gets blown into the trees. And thats why I would never go anywhere else.

 

To comment on Jay's supposed lack of snowmaking and grooming:  During last years terrible season with 80 degree days in early spring, other resorts used up what snow they had then closed early.  Jay kept making snow, even though they knew the primary beneficients of this snow would be season passholders who wouldn't be making the resort any money.  To me, that proves Jay's dedication to its snowmaking and its core following.

post #6 of 13

I went there for the Thanksgiving as that was their opening weekend.  On their website it said pretty clearly that 2 lifts will be open, one big one and one for the kids (Taxi).  They said they finished making snow on the Taxi runs and they moved the snow making machines to the other places.  When I got there the message was updated to something else and there was no snow off Taxi. They lied, but we did like the water park, so I'm bringing my kids there on the 25th. 

 

After that we're going to the Mont Orford.  Both places look like there is very little snow if any as of now. 

post #7 of 13

If the weather holds at all you will be fine for the 25th.  You will, however, find Jay to be much more crowded during Christmas week so I would expect lift lines and water park lines.  I have found Jay's snow reporting to be..shall we say somewhat coy.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post

If the weather holds at all you will be fine for the 25th.  You will, however, find Jay to be much more crowded during Christmas week so I would expect lift lines and water park lines.  I have found Jay's snow reporting to be..shall we say somewhat coy.

I'd say its absolutely inaccurate.

 

48 inches base?   My ass.  ski.gif

post #9 of 13

What's really cool about Jay, more than the amount of snow, is how shitty the groomers are and how great the trees are. As in, that wind rocks for us tree skiers.

I skied there while the rest of the East Coast was covered in blue ice. Jay got it's legendary snow storms from the Jay Cloud, sprinking 2 to 3 inches over the first two nights but that was enough. It was 6 to 12 in the woods as "all" this snow winded up in large patches in the woods.

Meanwhile, those groomers were completely miserable. But then again, I wasn't skiing them.

post #10 of 13

Groomers are miserable everywhere, no? :)

No way Jay Peak has 48" of snow, maybe 12" if I get lucky.  The glades are closed.   After that we're going to Mont Orford in Canada and according to their website there is no snow.  I should have stayed in Utah.

post #11 of 13

early season east coast over utah? thats a bold decision. Jay's expecting snow tomorrow tho.  And even if the glades are closed some may still be skiiable...Ski patrol doesn't care. I was skiing Jay glades on Dec 1st. Just need to be a little more careful, but Jays glades are usually kept in very good condition in terms of minimizing shin breaking roots and rocks. 

post #12 of 13
Quote:

 And even if the glades are closed some may still be skiiable...Ski patrol doesn't care
 

Good to know this.  I love Epicski.com :)

post #13 of 13

Don't mean to sound like an asshat, but if you're comparing Jay and Loon, you're talking apples and oranges.  I get your point about their apparent hope to become a mega resort...if they want to bring in the big crowds, they will need to cater more to the rich, less-than-core skier.  Many say that will ruin the place...it will certainly change it.

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