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.