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Trip Report, Okemo and Jay Peak

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My son and I skied Friday at Okemo and Saturday at Jay.

Okemo was a pleasure to ski on a weekday. With their network of high-speed quad chairs we must have skied at least 40 or 50 miles on Friday. Conditions were pretty good too...winter is back in VT! We skied all over the mountain and coverage was good and grooming, of course, immaculate. Glades were decent too, a bit sketchy underneath but not too hard.

We were planning on skiing Burke Saturday to avoid the holiday weekend crowds, but heard that Jay had gotten 10". Plus we had some friends skiing there as well. Jay did not dissapoint. What a great mountain. The groomers and bump runs were soft and fluffy (some ice later in the day) the glades were pretty bumped out, which I don't love because you're basically sking moguls in trees. Words of caution - there is a crust underneath the new snow, but where you could ski trees with no bumps there was nice dry boot-top pow. Not super light, but a very nice consistancy and fun to turn in.

The day started out with blue skies and no wind, it clouded up in the afternoon and was snowing when we left.

Yes there were crowds. No line on the "Flyer" chair or the other quad all day though. Tram lines were about 20 minutes throughout the day. We never skied Stateside as the "Jet" triple chair had a huge line.

Yes it was cold. It's Jay!

All in all a great 2-days of skiing. My thighs are feeling it this morning.
post #2 of 14
Hi, I am trying to plan a trip out to VT in mid-march. Places have booked up fast, but we are thinking about going to Okemo for March 18th

There will be between 6 to 8 of us, with most of us being pretty good skiers (I would say level 6 or so). A few including myself I would say are slightly better. Would we like Okemo, in terms of skiing and haning out there (we would get a slopside condo).

I have heard that Okemo is more of a family place, and has lots of blue squares. I know I like really advanced terrain. I would prefer to hit up Sugarbush, or Mt Snow, but they are both booked.
post #3 of 14


Hi Bump,
What you heard is correct-Okemo is blue and for families. Check into Stowe,
or Jay. However, Jay is pretty quiet at night but the terrain is varied more than Okemo.
post #4 of 14

My wife and I went to Okemo for the first time about 10 days ago. We're third year skiers and somewhat timid intermediates and we thought we'd love Okemo. We certainly didn't do the bump runs or glades. We also didn't get to all the blacks. But we were pretty amazed at the pitch -- more specifically the absence of pitch -- on the blacks that we sampled. Oddly, the greens seemed steep for greens, the blues were very similar to the greens, and the blacks we tried seemed very mild. I'd say most of the blues at Stowe are more challenging. We were also there on a busy weekend, the base lodge was too be avoided at all costs, lift lines at main lifts were long. All-in-all we were not impressed. That said, I think it would be a fun place for an intermediate cruiser on a weekday.
post #5 of 14
go to stowe.stay at the stowe motel.Lots of big rooms,suites
etc.room rates are very reasonable.Eat at the thai resturant i think its called the purple onion,great thai food and very reasonable prices. Lots of other decent places to eat.And your not to far from Sugarbush.
post #6 of 14
Thanks for the recommendations. What everyone said pretty much confirms what my friend told me.

As it turns out my friend was able to get us a slopside condo at Mt Snow. I really like Mt Snow's mountain, along with their awesome terrain park should make for a very nice March weekend.
post #7 of 14

More thoughts on Okemo, and Ascutney.

My 2 cents on Okemo vs. other VT areas...

Okemo has a bad reputation regarding what they offer in terms of advanced/expert terrain, and much of it is definitely well-deserved. They don't have bumps or real steeps. They are starting to open up some more glade trails (2 new ones at Jackson Gore), but obviously they can't compete with the tree skiing elsewhere in VT. And I agree that their trail rating system is inconsistent and often inaccurate (i.e. blues that are steeper than blacks, etc.). And alot of their advanced trails (I won't call them "expert" trails) have a bad tendency to intersect with beginner trails (creating way too many possibilities for hi-speed collisions).

However, Okemo should not be immediately ruled out, especially if put up against a place like Mt. Snow. Here's why:

1) Grooming/snowmaking. Best in the East - hands down. When the weather turns to crap, and other places are keeping trails open with blue ice and rock showing thru, Okemo does an incredible job at keeping terrain open and skiable. Take this weekend, for example. Lots of VT/NH places got wet snow and rain last week, and then it froze. Given that situation, I thought the conditions at Okemo were excellent (of course, after 2 pm things got skied off).

2) Most people who ski Okemo act like sheep - they all stay together and follow each other down the same slopes. If you know where to ski, especially on the crowded days, you can have a really great experience. For example, this weekend was very crowded, but the 2 best (i.e. steepest) cruisers on the hill, World Cup and Chief, remained uncrowded with excellent snow. 2000 feet of vertical, of fast GS turns, can be alot of fun. Just use the singles line at the summit quad and you can easily rack up 25 - 30K of vertical on a crowded day (that's alot for a weekend in the East).

3) If you have realistic expectations (i.e. don't expect to find the same terrain that you'll find at Stowe or Sugarbush), advanced skiers can have fun at Okemo. Break out the GS boards and carve up the whole mountain. In addition to the aformentioned World Cup and Chief, there's also decent hi-speed carving off the Solitude, Timberline (never a crowd at that chair) and Jackson Gore chairs.

4) The new entrance/base lodge at Jackson Gore makes a world of difference. I HATED the old base lodge/parking situation. Starting your day at Jackson Gore is a MUCH better experience - faster, friendlier, more relaxing. Just don't tell anybody else.

5) Okemo has great spring skiing. All that grooming creates some awesome corn snow in the spring. Hit it midweek (hell, even the weekends in March are not that crowded) and you'll have alot of fun.

Also...If you're looking for some steep skiing in Vermont, try Ascutney (my old home hill). Wrongly marketed as a "family" mountain, some of the greens and blues on Ascutney are way steeper than some blacks at Okemo. I skied there Monday with 8-10" of fresh dry powder and had a blast. Nasty hardpack lurking underneath, but there were some great stashes of untracked all of the mountain. And no one was there! I skied onto the chair after almost every run. Hitting Ascutney after a dump is the best kept secret in New England skiing.

Hope this helps.

post #8 of 14

My wife and I just got back from a week up there. You should look into the Best Western in Waterbury. It is about 11 miles to Stowe and about 20 miles to Sugarbush and MRG. Has an indoor pool and hot tub with a good breakfast. Got it on travelocity.com for about $71 a nite.
post #9 of 14
Best odds of great snow (aka powder) anywhere in the East - Jay Peak in March...

ahhhh remembering March 2001 - 48" followed a few days later by a 3 day 60" storm.....ahhh the good 'ol days....

and if the conditions stink, bag it and take the 2 hr drive to Quebec City - awesome, friendly low key city with killer restaurants and such....and Le Massif is the coolest little ski area I've ever been to....you drive into the top and don't see much....until 100 ft into your 1st run when you look down 2,500 vert right to the shores of the St Lawrence Seaway....views that definitely rival Tahoe...
post #10 of 14
In addition to our trip to Mt Snow, my friend and I are also trying to plan a trip to Jay Peak. He has been there several times, it will be my first. After hearing everything here about Jay, and what he has to say, I am pretty excited for that trip also.

Maybe since this entire winter has pretty much sucked for snowfall, march will make up for it.
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Jay peak is about 1000x better than Mt Snow. Also, it appears that winter has finally decided to stick around the NE for a while. I'm headed back up for a couple of days around the 14-15 of March.
post #12 of 14
Crank....where are your prioritites?? Get up there this weekend! Jay claimed, I think, 8"-10" on yesterdays snow report...more snow showers Fri/Sat (this storm is yet another southerly tracking one, huh...it's been the theme the past couple years)...and tell Al at the Golden Eagle I miss his Jack & Cokes!!
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Deep sigh... Can't due to some previous commitments. It looks like the next time I ski, other than local XC will be March 13-19 when we are going to be roaming around the north country.
post #14 of 14
Jay Peak is THE place for this weekend and into March. Here are some of Dr. Weather's comments from Jay Peak website:



"Skiers, snowboarders and weather junkies, lend me your ears; I've come to bury Jay Peak and to praise her."

Bury her? We'll, we were going out on a limb late week for at least a foot and a half of snow here this week, and I still think that is conservative--yes, many areas in the northern Green Mountains
will get buried. It would not surprise me that over the next 2 weeks, 3-5 feet of snow fall here--possibly close to double our normal March snowfall."

Go to the website and read the full report. Only downside is what happens with wind.

Also, agreed about Okemo. I was there two saturdays ago. Huge crowd (b/c of Mass school holiday), and virtually nothing in the way of black groomers that present any sort of challenge. Fun b/c the snow was fast, fast, fast. This was a good thing, b/c otherwise, it would have been pretty boring. The glades (which I don't go much for b/c I'm not good in steep bumps) were too thin to be enjoyable.
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