This weekend I wanted to get one last weekend of skiing in before I put my gear away for the summer, so early Saturday morning I met up with two snowboarders I met at Stowe a few weeks ago, and drove up to Jay Peak. I picked Jay because they had 60+ open trails of 78, and had a forecast that called for below freezing temperatures overnight.
I only started skiing on February 22nd, and over the course of 10 days in my first season, would consider myself a beginning intermediate (I can parallel, carve on groomers, ski blue with confidence on VT mountains, and blacks slowly on NY and VT mountains).
We got to Jay around 10, and by the time we were changed, had our RFID cards, and were ready to ski, it was 10:30. Took the tram to the summit, and started down the mountain. Took Goat to Alligator Alley, and worked our way down the mountain. It was very icy with a bit of powder on top. It was a little unnerving, and I initially thought that I might be in over my head. However, over the course of this top to bottom run, I got accustomed to the conditions and was fine. It turns out that there was enough hardpack and powder on the ice to make it actually really easy to ski.
Went back up the quad and took Ullr's Dream Down. Repeated that, but went through Kokomo after, not realizing it was considered a glade trail. Dipped into the woods in one or two spots. Once I realized it was a glade, I went deeper into the woods along with one of the snowboarders.
After lunch, We decided to try out the various Moon Glades, which were also a blast. Took them at fairly slow speeds, but still, just being in the woods, versus on the groomed trails was a lot of fun.
The weather stayed pretty gray most of the day, until the last hour or so, when the sun finally broke through the Jay Cloud.
It was a bluebird day. Groomed trails with very nice snow for the first couple of hours, turning into softer slush by the end of the day. Around 1-1:30, it had become so sticky that it was not fun the ski the trails or the glades.
The morning was Goat to Queen Anne's Highway twice, then Ullr's Dream to Kokomo, then Goat to River Quai and into the Moon Walker glades. There seemed to be a Quad malfunction, as we sat on the lift for about 10-15 minutes without it moving. Decided on an early lunch, then took the tram to the top.
(I'm in the middle)
(I'm pretty sure that that is Mt. Mansfield in the distance)
Took Vermonter down, which, was soft, but also very chopped up. Took it slow, as it was our first time on the trail, and I don't like to zip through new trails sight unseen. Most people were going down Northway, so the trail was pretty empty at this time. Our goal was to get down to the Jet lift, which we did via the Montrealer. Cut through the Stateside Glades to get to the bottom. Took the Jet lift to the top, and then took Derrick Hot Shot down. This side of Jay was sitting in the sun all morning, and with the rising temperatures, had really heavy sticky wet slush. Towards the bottom I ducked into the trees, hoping to hit some better snow in the shade. It was better, but I didn't want to delve too deep in, as these trees were right on the ski area boundary. Ended up at the bottom of Williard's Way. which was a flat puddle of slush. I actually had to hike it back to the lift.
Took Jet back up, and skied down Montrealer to Angel's Wiggle and the Milk Way. Milk was was patchy and a lot of slow moving kids were sort of stuck on it. Worked our way down (and I once again went near piste in the woods) and eventually got down to the lodge. At this point one rider decided to take a break, while the other rider and I decided to lap the terrain park.
I wanted to work on landing jumps and drops, and build confidence in the air. She just wanted to jump. I think we got five runs in total before the lifts stopped spinning. In that time, I think I hit 28 jumps (according to Alpine Replay) for a grand total of 16 seconds in the air. My favorite? I decided to try and top the big box. Well, I hit it with enough speed to go up over the edge, and, apparently the rear tips of my skis cleared it by about a foot. I then landed, and immediately proceeded to slide forward, land on my ass, and skid the whole top of the box and down the front side. I imagine that it was quite funny to watch.
As a whole, I really enjoyed Jay Peak. A few really nice trails with a lot of opportunity to ski into trees for intermediate and advanced skiers/riders. The snow was decent when the temperatures were below 45 degrees, and it wasn't crowded (I attribute that to being Easter and late season).
I think they really need new lifts, faster lifts. As it currently stands, only the tram goes to the top, and, it is a 7 minute trip, plus waiting time, loading time, and unloading time. The Quad that serves the beginner terrain takes almost a full ten minutes to go a quarter of the way up (if even that long), and Jet is slow, feeling like an almost 15 minute trip to the lower summit. I would not want to be there during a down where it was not ski on.
That said, I will definitely come back to Jay, as the trees were just that much fun. I stayed in Newport, about 20 miles away, and had a decent enough room at the Newport City Motel.