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Jay Peak crowds at Xmas?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

How much of a zoo is Jay during Xmas week? I've been running the numbers on a family ski trip out West (I'm in DC) from 28 Dec to  01 Jan, and the totals are pretty staggering. To fly a family of 4 out West during that timeframe to ski for 3 days adds up to about $5500, on average. (Crested Butte came in at the cheapest at ~ $4400. Big Sky was the most expensive at ~ $7500.)

 

Getting in the car and driving to someplace on the East Coast for those 3 days of skiing suddenly seems a lot more appealing.

post #2 of 19

It is crowded but so is everyplace.  Good skiing at Jay Peak requires natural snow.  That can certainly happen for Xmas week.  Safer bets are areas with extensive snowmaking and grooming.  Jay does have the water park for the kids but I can only imagine how crowded that might be.

post #3 of 19
Jay is a great ski area, but Christmas is NOT a safe bet anywhere for skiing, places that rely on natural snow are a worse bet, eastern ski areas that require good natural snow? That is like hitting on 20 in blackjack, a terrible risk with not a lot of upside. As Crank said, Christmas week is time for maximum snow gun coverage. Anywhere with only a couple of trails open will feel crowded no matter how many folks are there.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 


Sorry, I should have prefaced my post with the assumption that this year will be a decent snow year. I've been holding off booking ANYTHING until I see how the season is shaping up. Whether I go out West or stay on the East coast will be dependent solely on who has snow, not the cost of the trip.

 

So I guess the question should have been, "In a good snow year, how crowded is Jay at Xmas time? Is it as crowded as Stowe and Sugarbush, or less so due to it being farther enough North that people don't bother to make the trip?". I guess what I'm really asking is how long are the waits in the lift lines at Xmas, assuming most of the mountain is open?

 

Whiteroom, is your post implying that Jay doesn't have a ton of snow gun coverage?

post #5 of 19

Jay does not have a great rep for snowmaking and the big attraction there is glades, not trails.  Even in a good snow year it is rare that much natural terrain is open by Christmas.  Sometimes it is, but you cannot count on it.  Probably just as crowded as Stowe or Sugarbush.  Jay has been attracting crowd with new hotels and indoor water park yet have added no new uphill capacity in many years.

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksampson3 View Post
 


Sorry, I should have prefaced my post with the assumption that this year will be a decent snow year. I've been holding off booking ANYTHING until I see how the season is shaping up. Whether I go out West or stay on the East coast will be dependent solely on who has snow, not the cost of the trip.

 

So I guess the question should have been, "In a good snow year, how crowded is Jay at Xmas time? Is it as crowded as Stowe and Sugarbush, or less so due to it being farther enough North that people don't bother to make the trip?". I guess what I'm really asking is how long are the waits in the lift lines at Xmas, assuming most of the mountain is open?

 

Whiteroom, is your post implying that Jay doesn't have a ton of snow gun coverage?

 

By the time you know how the season is shaping up, expect there to be little to no availability for lodging. Up at Jay, you're either staying on the mountain property at one of their hotels, at a handful of tiny B&B's nearby, or you're staying 10-15 miles away, at the opposite end of a narrow winding road up to the mountain, which translates to 20-40 minutes away. Right now there is stuff available, but if you wait until November or early December? No way. A ski/splash/stay package during the time you're thinking about for 2 adults and 2 kids is currently starting at $652 a night, that includes your room, lift tickets, and admission to the water park. If you have kids, the water park admission is absolutely NOT optional, even if you stay at Stateside, which is away from the water park itself. Everybody knows about the water park, and it is right in your face in the main base area. So your kids are going to see it, and they are absolutely going to want to do it. And frankly, coming off snow and parking yourself in the lazy river while your kids tear around the slides... not a bad plan for apres. 

 

In any case, there's no way you can wait too long. People are going to plan ahead and book during that week. The rooms at Jay are likely going to go even faster than anywhere else this season, exactly because we had an awful Christmas week last year. At least at Jay, you could cut the ski day short and head to the water park, and salvage more fun from the week than at a lot of other mountains. People will remember that from last year, and book it for this year. I had clients who were skiing a half day at Stowe, then hopping in the car and shooting up to Jay to hit the waterpark in the afternoon, since the skiing was so limited last Xmas week. 

post #7 of 19
Oh, and as far as how much of a zoo Jay is during Christmas week, this is a picture from last year: 
 

 

Then again, everywhere is like that. It's Christmas week. Busiest week of the season. 

 

post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 


freeski919,

Great, great info. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I know that I'm going to get shut out at a lot of places if I wait too long to plan the trip, but I'll take that risk. I'd rather take that risk than pay in advance and ski crappy conditions because I decided to book early. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

 

Regardless, someplace is going to have snow this Xmas and will be willing to take my money.

 

Thanks again

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksampson3 View Post
 


freeski919,

Great, great info. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I know that I'm going to get shut out at a lot of places if I wait too long to plan the trip, but I'll take that risk. I'd rather take that risk than pay in advance and ski crappy conditions because I decided to book early. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

 

Regardless, someplace is going to have snow this Xmas and will be willing to take my money.

 

Thanks again

I made this suggestion in a different thread, and I'll make it here, too. Take a look at Burke. They have some great terrain, and they just opened a brand new hotel at the end of the summer. Burke, along with Jay, have been at the center of a pretty nasty financial fraud controversy. However, both resorts are under outside control now, and the receiver in charge these days is looking to put the best face on the resorts in order to be as attractive to a potential buyer as possible. 

 

Burke is the biggest mountain in Vermont that hasn't been considered a true "resort" to this point. However, the aforementioned scandal had to do with building the new hotel and the other resort amenities to bring Burke to that level. So it's a mountain that has brand new resort infrastructure... but doesn't have the resort type crowds yet. Its in a kind of sweet spot in that way, and could be a great bet for a lot of people this season. They have ski and stay packages starting at $535 a night for 2 adults 2 kids. No water park, though. 

post #10 of 19

Burke, snowmaking, not so much.   Nice to have a decent amount of terrain open.  They mostly get lesser amounts of snow than Jay as well.  At Jay you can find rooms in Newport an easy 20 miles.  Look into Alpine Haven condos 3 miles past Jay towards Montgomery.


Edited by crank - 10/6/16 at 1:48pm
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
 

Burke, snowmaking, not so much.   Nice to have a decent amount of terrain open.  They mostly get lesser amounts of snow than Jay as well.  At Jay you can find rooms in Newport an easy 20 miles.  Look into Alpine Have condos 3 miles past Jay towards Montgomery.

True, but if he's going to wait on snow, Burke may have the better odds of having availability at that point. If there's snow, that is. 

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

So it looks like I'm probably going to bite the bullet and head to Jay. Anyone been there this week to report on current conditions? Their current trail status doesn't show a whole bunch of runs open, but my kid said that was because Flyers Express and the Tram aren't open during the week. (Don't know if that is true or not.)

 

Also, anyone stayed in either the Golf or Timberline cottage/condos? They look pretty nice on the website photos.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksampson3 View Post
 

So it looks like I'm probably going to bite the bullet and head to Jay. Anyone been there this week to report on current conditions? Their current trail status doesn't show a whole bunch of runs open, but my kid said that was because Flyers Express and the Tram aren't open during the week. (Don't know if that is true or not.)

 

Also, anyone stayed in either the Golf or Timberline cottage/condos? They look pretty nice on the website photos.

 

The tram is closed because they are working on it.  The Bon Adventure chair is closed because the tram crosses over it and they are working on the tram.  The flyer is scheduled to be inspected and can't open until then.  They expect to get this all straightened out the week of Dec. 19th.  Your kid is wrong about them not being open during the week, but it is true that they are not open yet.  See below from Jay's GM last week:

 

"In an attempt to try and manage what are understandably high expectations, this is what we have for you this weekend with respect to snow/lifts trails. Snow: A lot of it (I shoveled it all day, I know), 16-18” in the past 24 hours, still bombing now and 50”+ this week. Lifts: Our Tram is getting some repair work on its cable and, as such, will not roll this week. We’re still expecting it the week of December 19th. As a result of repair work on the Tram cable, we can’t run the Bonnie, although we do plan to have it sometime next week along with the Flyer that is scheduled to be inspected then as well. We’ll have the Jet accessing everything we have on Stateside along with the Taxi and moving carpet. We wish we had more uphill capacity for this weekend but what you find here, you’re going to enjoy. For another piece of perspective, this time last year we had one lift and one run with what snow we could scrape together. To say the least, we are extremely grateful for this strong start to the season, and we look forward to seeing Passholders at our Passholder appreciation party tomorrow; 4p in the IR. Travel safely all."
 

I have skied Jay a lot through the years, but have never stayed in any of their condos.  The hotels are nice. and I like the suite rooms in the Tramhaus Lodge with gas fireplaces and small kitchen etc.

 

 

Also, going back to original conversation about Christmas crowds...  We are considering booking a room at Burke for a few days between Christmas and New Years.   They have a holiday promotion that gets you a slope side room and 2 adult lift tix for $229.  They don't have much terrain open right now so I am waiting to see if they get some more snow and open some more terrain before booking.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Crank. That's great info. It gives me pause to drop $2400 on a "don't worry, we'll be open next week" scenario. Sigh. 

post #15 of 19

My wife's parents live in nearby N Troy so we've done a lot of Christmastime visits over the years, in fact I learned to ski there. Never been skunked but I have skied in some less than ideal conditions. But that place can get the goods too. I remember not being able to get the rental car up the mountain one time due to a massive dump.

 

This year is starting off pretty good as far as snow is concerned. Having the Tram and the Bonnie off line at the same time is going to put a lot of pressure on the Jet and Flyer - that would be my main concern. The Tramhaus Hotel is excellent and the waterpark, although it's not my gig, is entertaining if the mountain disappoints. The locals will be stoked you came to visit and to leave some dollars in the NEK.

 

Good luck!

post #16 of 19

Still snowing at Jay.  Their website says they "hope" to have the Freezer open for this weekend.  

post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

Anyone have any status regarding the progress getting the Tram open? They had an update a couple of days ago saying that the Tram would hopefully be open by midweek, i.e. tomorrow. I haven't seen an update since then. 

 

Because the Tram is closed, they won't open the Bonaventure Quad, either. This means that all of the skier traffic is being funneled to the Jet and Flyer lifts. Not a good scenario when it comes to Xmas crowds next week. 

 

Thanks much

post #18 of 19
I was at Jay the last 2 days (29th and 30th). First time there. Usually ski in Colorado. 100% open. All lifts and tram open though not necessarily at the same time due to wind. 29th there was a fair amount of ice and exposed rocks on some of the trails. It snowed all day and night and then blizzard conditions on the 30th. Everything was then awesome! Trails, glades. Never had a line longer than 10 minutes except the tram 40 mins. I was surprised. Crowds may have been lighter due to the weather. But that's when I like it! Gnarlier the better! Snow report says 21 inches. Hard to tell due to so much wind but I was definitely impressed with the terrain and glades available. I'd definitely go again if conditions are good over the holiday week.
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

We ended up deciding not to go due to the uncertainty of the tram and the Bonnie Quad opening/not opening dates. The daily website updates kept saying, "Not today, hopefully tomorrow". I didn't want to get up there on Monday and not have all of the lifts open until the day that we left. Too bad as it seemed like REALLY good early season conditions. Good to hear that they got everything open for you. 

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