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Driving from Stowe village to Jay

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm gonna knock off two of my "must-skis" with one fell swoop in a couple of weeks! Never been to Northern VT but my seven year old daughter and I are going to stay in the Green Mountain Inn at Stowe from a Wed-Sat. The first full day skiing (Thursday) we will be making the ride up to Jay. Now Mapquest has us basically taking a straight shot north on Route 100 and is only 42 or so miles. Is this a decent drive? Next day (Friday) we will ski Stowe. Then we might just go home Saturday but depending how we feel, perhaps a 1/2 day at either Stowe or S-Bush then drive home. Any suggestions for that Saturday? Its just that we have a 6+ hour drive home to NJ. Cannot stay to Sunday because its Easter.

Originally I was going to try Smuggs but with Route 108 closed in the winter I decided to take a long look at Jay. Does Jay close any lifts mid-week?

My daughter is a strong skier for her age and can follow me on just about everything except real steeps and bumps and that's fine for this trip!

Thanks,

Marc
post #2 of 23
Not a bad drive if the weather's good, but it's certainly no superhighway. Mostly back roads, with a few towns that you have to crawl through. If the weather is not too good, then allow extra time. You'll like the Green Mountain Inn. Stayed there over Christmas. What a wonderful place. May have to make it a tradition, the town is extra special with all the Xmas spirit and decorations.
post #3 of 23
Rt 100 North is the best way to Jay from Stowe. Jay does typically shut some lifts during the week, but that usually doesn't limit terrain access you may just have to do some traversing or skating to get to everything.
post #4 of 23
I love Rt. 100, it is Vermont. You'll have an easy ride.

I'm skiing Jay next week with my son and our plan is to head down and ski in southern VT on our last day or 2. That way I'll have a 3-4 hour drive home instead of 6. Of course if it's going off at Jay we may just stay there.
post #5 of 23
How are the price at the green mountain inn. Jay peak is well worth the drive the snow id the best in the east there with out a doubt. As far as i know they only close lifts due to wind.
post #6 of 23
You'll have a blast.

The Green Mountain Inn has a nice hot tub facility where you should be sure to unwind after a long day of powder at Jay. I also like their Whip Restaurant great for brunch and lunch they have great club sandwiches too. I know you'll be with a 7 year old but the Matterhorn bar is a favorite for apres ski right on Stowe Moutain Road (Rte. 108) - they have good beer, live music on weekends, sushi, great pizza and wings from a wood fired oven.

The drive up to Jay is not bad. It's very desolate up there, you'll only pass a few stores the entire ride. It should take around 40 minutes? Maybe a bit longer, maybe less. I can't remember. Jay is also a great mountain and I bet your daughter would get a big kick out of riding on the Tram.

Driving to Smuggs would take about as long to get to as Jay I think. I've never done it personally. If you REALLY want to go to Smuggs you can get there by taking the Big Spruce chair at Stowe to the top - you can ski over there. Follow the signs to Smuggler's Notch (not the signs for the trail called Smugglers) and it's a traverse across a frozen mountain pond and then you ski down into Smugglers Notch Resort on their "Sterling Mountain" Peak. You can buy a 1 time lift ticket to ride back up Smuggs and reverse the process. Honestly with a 7 year old it's not dangerous or really strenuous or anything but probably much more hassle than it's worth. If your kid would think it's a super fun adventure, then it might be pretty cool to do, but I'd make sure to speak to the liftie at the bottom of Big Spruce Chair before you go just to make sure you have your bearings.
post #7 of 23

Stowe to Smuggs

I skied from Smuggs to Spruce and back 5 or 6 years ago, across the pond. It was a blast, but I believe the interconnect has been closed for years at Stowe's insistence. I suppose you could poach it, but if it's not officially open, you won't be able to buy a one-trip lift ride to return.
post #8 of 23
To clarify what Evan said: Stowe does not sell single user tickets. Smuggs does - they're $10 each though so we would just talk the liftie into letting us get back on the lift for free so we could just go home.

So anyway if you start at Stowe you can do the trip fully legally, although I sincerely doubt that a liftie at Big Spruce would prevent anybody from taking the trip back to Smuggs if you did indeed start at Smuggs and need to get home.

It doesn't really matter but although the interconnect is not officially advertised/open, it most certainly is "skiable" just like when I hike to the top of the Chin and ski down Hells Brook through the backcountry. At a place like Stowe they actually encourage you to use their entire mountain, but god forbid if any of the little tykes from Smuggs started poaching pow on the front four!

Haven't done this in about 2 years though. Cool adventure and very unique.
post #9 of 23
traffic alert, just be aware of the speed traps that surround the town of troy...25MPH means 25 MPH, i got nailed on a country road with no houses nor people doing 40...so do 25MPH and save your day...
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Wow interesting stuff! The fact you can ski from Stowe to Smuggs is VERY cool. How long a process would it be from the top of Big Spruce to get to Smuggs? And how long to get back? And hypothetically if we got over to Smuggs we would just need to get a ride back up to the top to get back to Stowe? Honestly is it worth it? We may only have one day at Stowe.

Never having been to Stowe, what's the deal with Spruce Peak? Is it on the same lift ticket as Stowe and are the Mansfield and Spruce connected by lifts/trails?

One more....with the threat of Jay closing the Tram (I would definitely want it open for my daughter) am I better off doing Jay on a Friday rather than a Thursday? Would they be more inclined to leave the lifts open on a busier day...Friday?

Thanks for all the great ideas.
post #11 of 23
gores95

If you get stuck on either side, check out the map. It's a long frikin drive around!

Spruce is part of Mansfield. Don't waist time there or on the gondola. Total dullness!
post #12 of 23
If you go to Jay, ride the tram once for the novelty and view and then don't bother. We were at Jay for 4 days over Pres. week and took it twice-usually the wait for it is long and it's crowded.Unless your daughter is ready to ski the face of the mountain, there's only one more trail it gets you to higher than the HSQ.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Billd
To clarify what Evan said: Stowe does not sell single user tickets. Smuggs does - they're $10 each though so we would just talk the liftie into letting us get back on the lift for free so we could just go home.

So anyway if you start at Stowe you can do the trip fully legally, although I sincerely doubt that a liftie at Big Spruce would prevent anybody from taking the trip back to Smuggs if you did indeed start at Smuggs and need to get home.

It doesn't really matter but although the interconnect is not officially advertised/open, it most certainly is "skiable" just like when I hike to the top of the Chin and ski down Hells Brook through the backcountry. At a place like Stowe they actually encourage you to use their entire mountain, but god forbid if any of the little tykes from Smuggs started poaching pow on the front four!

Haven't done this in about 2 years though. Cool adventure and very unique.
I was up at Smugg's in January and we were told the connecting trail was officially closed and if we did try to get to Stowe, Stowe would require us to buy a lift ticket to get back. They stated the reason for the closure was too few people were taking advantage of the trail. Thus requiring too many hours of patrol work to check the run at the end of the day, relative to the number of trail users.

The drive around the mountain from Stowe to Smugg's takes a little under an hour.

Last time I was at Stowe we awoke to 6" of fresh snow, I called Jay Peak, they had 17" and still snowing. It was about an hour in a 4wd. Definitly worth the trip. Total snowfall was 22" at Jay & 8" at Stowe.
post #14 of 23
The tram closes for wind, otherwise it will be open. I disagree with John V. Jay is usually a pretty cold mountain and gettng a break from the "Green Mountain Freezer" lift is a welcome respite. (Although temps should be reasonable when you are there.) We usually mix it up and take the tram 3 or 4 times throughout the day.
post #15 of 23
Mansfield and Spruce are not connected by lifts or trails--they are across the street from each other. There is a shuttle you can take between them, though. If you only spend one day at Stowe, you will probably want to skip skiing Spruce, as getting there and back will take some time out of your day (not a horrendous amount, 30 minutes or so round-trip including waiting for the shuttle, but enough when you only have a day). You will find enough terrain on Mansfield to keep you more than happy and you won't feel like you "missed something" by skipping Spruce. However, a thought: If it snows, you may want to go over to Spruce because the blues over there don't get as much traffic and you can find fresh powder after it's been tracked out on Mansfield.

If you haven't already figured it out, skip trying to ski between Stowe and Smuggs. As others have said, that trail isn't maintained or patrolled anymore. If anything ever happened to you or your daughter, it would be terrible and you'd never forgive yourself. Save that kind of "adventure" for when she's older.

Generally speaking, the tram at Jay is only closed if it's too windy. During the week, one of the other lifts might be closed because it's not needed (usually the quad on Stateside), but as others have said, you can still get to all the terrain from the other lifts. Lately, all the lifts have been open during the week because we're having the best part of the ski season right now and there are enough people to warrant all the lifts being open. You could always call Jay when you wake up in the morning to see if they have lifts closed due to wind--if it's windy, just go the next day instead. Fortunately, you're coming at a time of the season that tends to be less windy (though we've been having some pretty windy days with all these storms we've been getting).

Does your daughter have any experience skiing glades? Jay has some wonderful "kiddie" glades if she's just learning: Kokomo, Bushwacker, and Moonwalk. If she's got some experience, try Stateside, Buck's and Buckaroo Bonzai. If she's fearless in the glades, you'll find plenty to keep her smiling.

Thatsagirl
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by evansilver
I skied from Smuggs to Spruce and back 5 or 6 years ago, across the pond. It was a blast, but I believe the interconnect has been closed for years at Stowe's insistence. I suppose you could poach it, but if it's not officially open, you won't be able to buy a one-trip lift ride to return.
That connection over the pond is really beautiful. I did that also 4-5 years ago. I am still seeing ppl going under the rope to cross. I guess it's no different than any backcountry access (which is legal), right? Since they close the connection, the official position from either resort has been back and forth from year to year. It's been from "just do it but at your own risk" to "absolutely not, you'll be fined if you're caught". Some of that may have to do with whether someone has fallen through the ice recently.
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatsagirl
Jay has some wonderful "kiddie" glades if she's just learning: Kokomo, Bushwacker, and Moonwalk. If she's got some experience, try Stateside, Buck's and Buckaroo Bonzai. If she's fearless in the glades, you'll find plenty to keep her smiling.
Smuggs has been cutting glade trails left and right for the last couple of years. I think they intend to compete with Jay in that department.
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate all the replies! We will probably skip the Stowe/Smuggs trail link. Probably do Jay on Thursday and Stowe on Friday. I will definitely call Jay (and check weather forecasts) Thursday morning to find out how windy it is and any closures.

As for her skiing the glades...with the exception of taking her occasionally into the woods off a trail, no major glades skiing for her. We will absolutely check out the Jay "kiddie" glades and see if she likes that.

Thanks again for all the responses!
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by gores95
I'm gonna knock off two of my "must-skis" with one fell swoop in a couple of weeks! Never been to Northern VT but my seven year old daughter <clipped>My daughter is a strong skier for her age and can follow me on just about everything except real steeps and bumps and that's fine for this trip!
I know I'm a bit off topic and repetitive but I gotta say this...

Since you have a young but strong skier and you're looking for "must-skis", you have to consider doing Smuggs next year. Better yet, do a week and put her in either ski camp or group lesson. You (and most importantly your daughter) will not be disappointed. Don't let the "family resort" name mislead you as there are plenty of challenging stuff for all levels and all ages. They just have the family-friendly programs/atmosphere to add to the on-snow fun (with their off slope parties, movies, shows etc.).

Speaking of glades, if she is a Level 5 or better, the instructors/coaches will make the glade/backcountry/natural-snow experience to be a part of the lessons. They don't hold back. You will not get that at the local resorts, where all students are well restricted and confined to groomers. Their blue glades are well beyond in difficulty and fun than any local black tree terrains.

We have been an annual regulars for 7-8 years now and we (myself and the kids) have yet had a less-than-great lesson yet. There are plenty of resorts that have equal or more challenging mountains but few (maybe no one) can match what Smuggs has to offer for a mixed family/challenging/instrucional experience.
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
Smuggs has been cutting glade trails left and right for the last couple of years. I think they intend to compete with Jay in that department.
Good luck! It's all about the mountain, and the amount of snow the mountain gets. Smuggs gets less snow than Stowe and Jay, and is less challenging than both...

But seriously, I do enjoy Smuggs and you are right: It is a very fine family resort and has a great ski school. Totally worth a multi-day visit including lessons for the munchkin. You can't beat them for a family vacation, and they have great after-ski programs for kids of all ages, including teens, which allows the adults to have some quiet time alone.

Thatsagirl
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatsagirl
Smuggs gets less snow than Stowe and Jay
According to more than one source (which include Smuggs itself of course), Smuggs gets more snow than Stowe. I think I've read somewhere (I think Ski Mag) that they get the most snow second to Jay in the East. Don't know how accurate that is tho.
post #22 of 23
Don't want to bum you out but just keep your eyes peeled

Mondayit was RAIN at Stowe. Followed by 100mph sustained winds at the top which blew away all of the 12 inches they accumulated during the night. Wednesday morning at the summit it was -10 for the start of the NCAA championships.

As you may have guessed the mountain turned into an icecube. No snow, all ice.

It's been a few days, and they've gotten some snow, and the temps have warmed up. Just make sure to ask somebody knowledgeable about the conditions. Call up a local ski shop and they'll be sure to give you the latest. Roemer, the guy from bestskiweather.com advises that conditions went wacky this week in Vermont.

Just so you know I'm not making this up:
http://www.stowereporter.com/Section...rtsStory1.html
Prior to the start of racing much of the excitement was provided by the weather. Mother Nature East reared her head beginning on Monday welcoming NCAA racers to town with rain, then a cold and blustery snow storm. Huddled around a bonfire Tuesday at the opening ceremonies to the four-day event, skiers from the West were in disbelief at the cold and raw weather, as Easterners smiled a heartfelt I told you so.

“See, I told you it’s rugged here,” one athlete was overheard saying.

Over a foot of new snow fell at the mountain Tuesday (following rain Monday), followed by a scouring wind that did most of the work for the Alpine course workers in terms of snow removal.

“The grooming crew said that the wind was pinned at 100 miles per hour last night,” said Stowe’s Dave Merriam.

Temperatures at the top of the mountain Wednesday morning were a bone-chilling minus 10 at the summit and it was just one degree at the base of the mountain.
post #23 of 23
What Billd says is very true. Hopefully, Stowe will get a lot of snow from this current storm.

By the way, I just did some "quick" research--I looked at each resort's website to find their "average annual snowfall":

Smuggs: 284 inches
Stowe: 333 inches
Jay: 355 inches

I looked all over Smuggs' website and didn't see any claims that they get more snow than Stowe. Doesn't mean it's not there, I just didn't see it. In all my years in the ski industry (11), I've never heard Smuggs make this claim. Again, doesn't mean they don't make it. I will say that when I used to work at Stowe in the late '90s, their average was hovering around 300 inches, so I was surprised to see this higher figure (333 inches). But I do know that when I worked at Stowe, the resort would get dumped on and my friends at Smuggs told me they'd gotten nothing. Of course, we all know that storms can hit one resort and miss a nearby resort. Sometimes Smuggs got a storm that Stowe didn't. But no matter which figures you go by, Stowe gets anywhere from 20 inches to 50 inches more on average.

Either way, all three of these resorts get more snow than other New England resorts. And that's not to be ignored. Your best bet for good snow is to go north.

And, lest I upset the Smuggs diehards, the terrain at Stowe and Jay is still more challenging. Yes, there is some challenging terrain at Smuggs, but the others have more of it. So, it's tough for Smuggs to try and "compete" by cutting more glades to attract glade skiers. In fact, what they are really trying to do is make sure that when a family comes, if there are advanced/expert skiers in the group, they do have some nice terrain to play in while those of lesser abilities are perfectly happy too. Smuggs offers a well-rounded experience, for all ability levels, as does Stowe. Jay doesn't even pretend to cater to anyone who isn't at least an adventurous intermediate (or an adventurous person, given that they do give a lot of lessons to lower ability levels).

My point is that each of these resorts is catering to a different niche, and they all do it quite well. But the mountain dictates what the resort can offer. Thankfully, they've each figured out how to deal with the hand they've been dealt. If you asked me, "Which has the best family experience?" I'd say, Smuggs, hands down. Ask me "Which has the best ski school?" I'd say, Smuggs and Stowe. Ask me, "Where would you go if you were advanced and expert skiers?" I'd say Jay and Stowe. Ask me, "Where would you go if you had a mixed group?" I'd say Stowe or Smuggs, unless you are all adventurous, in which case Jay too.

Thatsagirl
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