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Jay Peak or Smuggs?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My 10 yr old son and I are planning a 3/4 day trip to Vermont and wanted to find out what would be the best place(s) for us to go to. My son is a good intermidiate skiier (that will go on some less intimidated blacks), so thats what we'll be skiing the most. I've been looking at Jay because of their rep for powder. We were fortunate last year to be out on Valentine's day in 12+ inches of powder at Holiday Valley, NY and he got the hang of it by the afternoon. We also love the trees.
Also, has anyone stayed at either place. Jay has better pricing, but Smuggs has more to do. I've read alot of good and bad reviews about the lodging at Jay (we would probably just stay one night there). I've also thought about staying in Burlington and day tripping. Sugarbush or Stowe could be possibilities as well.
Thanks for the help.
post #2 of 11
Jay and Smuggs would be a pretty nice combination to do two days at each. They are about 45 mins apart IIRC. One night at Jay and the rest at Smuggs might be good. Smuggs has more infrastructure at base including a few restaurants, pools, bars, etc., although not huge. Jay's base area is very small and isolated. Both places have some true expert terrain. I think I'd give Smuggs the edge for more enjoyable/plentiful intermediate terrain and a better place to spend a few nights. Both lower crowd & cost than Stowe or Sugarbush.
post #3 of 11
Good thing you ask. These are our two faves...

Smuggs is our "home away from home" each year. Needless to say, we like the place. We also visited Jay at the end of the season (Easter) when they got hit by over 60" over the 5 days we were there (and it kept coming). We had the best ski vacation there for the money.

If your kids can do pretty much anything, either place would be great. Just note that the rating system is a bit tougher at Smuggs. Here is a short summary of comparison IMHO FWIW:

Groomers - Smuggs is far better at any level and has much more to choose from. Groomers have much more characteristics at Smuggs.

Trees - They both have tons of trees (yeah, Smuggs don't advertise their tree like Jay does but believe me they are there). Fun factor is about the same for both. Just be aware that trees in Northern VT is not the same as the ones in Central/Western NY. If you expect them to be as gentle as the ones we have here, you're in for a big surprise. Jay has a better variety for different levels (many more designated as beginners or intermediate) and probably has a few more than Smuggs. Smuggs is much more challenging in general (some of their blues can make you teeth grind if you're not used to them). The green/blue glades at Jay are a lot of fun

Pow - Jay has an edge like you would expect but I think Smuggs' is second (or close to) in snow fall according some sources. Keep in mind that skiing deep powder can be far more tiring than on groomers for the youngster.

Steeps - Smuggs got more steeps, particularly on piste. The ungroomed, exposed drops over rocks or whatnot are beyond my level and look just as difficult and scary at both places; but I've been told by others in my family who skiied them that they aren't that hard .

Park - I didn't see any at Jay. Maybe I didn't look hard enough.

Bumps - Smuggs has more. At Jay, I don't remember seeing much and they are kinda scattered.

Instruction - based on our one-time experience at Jay and many more at Smuggs, Smuggs wins in this catagories hands down. The only semi-private (for the family of 3) I ever paid for was at Jay and we got less out of that than out of any larger group lessons at Smuggs. The guy supposedly was a PSIA/CSIA Level 2. Didn't impress me.

Accommodation - there is no mixed review here. Smuggs is far better.

Food - Hotel Jay has very nice meals. Smuggs is kinda lame.

Nightlife - none at Jay outside of the hotel room so plan on skiing hard during the day if you're staying there. Smuggs is not a party town but it has plenty to do for a family with young children. There is some (tho not much) entertainment for adults also.

As for sampling, I would recommend doing no more than 2 resorts in this region particularly with a child who is an intermediate. These are pretty "big" mountains that call for at least 2 days to get a true taste and to explore. You're far better off letting your son rest between ski days so that you can get out there to adventure more. If your goal is merely to sample, then it really doesn't matter what ski areas you head to so long as they are new to you guys.

Good luck and have fun.
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, that was the exact kind of info I was looking for. Where did you stay at Jay? I was was looking at either the smaller condos or the hotel.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
Thanks, that was the exact kind of info I was looking for. Where did you stay at Jay? I was was looking at either the smaller condos or the hotel.
We stayed at Hotel Jay. It was an all inclusive deal with lifts, breakfast and dinner each day. The best inclusive meals we've had besides on cruises.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr View Post
We stayed at Hotel Jay. It was an all inclusive deal with lifts, breakfast and dinner each day. The best inclusive meals we've had besides on cruises.
The Hotel was the place I heard poor reviews about (as far as the condition of the rooms). How was it?
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark F View Post
The Hotel was the place I heard poor reviews about (as far as the condition of the rooms). How was it?
It was definitely habitable. But, other than clean, roomy and warm, it was old with crappy furnishing and a crappy TV. The room was very poorly sound insulated. It does have free high speed Internet (I think wired). The beds, although not luxurious, weren't bad.
post #8 of 11
We hit Jay at least once a season pretty much every year. I used to stay at the Hotel Jay like 15 years ago, pre-kid days. Rooms were average hotel rooms. The dinner's were excellent, long drawn out affairs that lasted at least 2 hours, maybe 3. This was fine because there was nothing else to do up there.

These days it's usually my son and I (wife doesn't ski much anymore.) We like the Snow Line, which is a funky little motel about 1/4 mile from Jay's driveway. They serve a great breakfast and rooms are small, spartan and what you'd expect - they run about $100 per night. This year we are staying at Alpine Haven Condos, about 3 miles away on 242, decent lodging, fireplace, kitchen, again about $100 per night. We have also stayed at motels in Newport, VT which is about a 20 minute drive and has plenty of places to eat out.

Smuggs and Jay sounds like a good plan. My son and I have done the ski safari thing in the region several times. He is now 14. We will be there Feb. 17-23. PM me if you're there at the same time. I know some spots at Jay that are perfect for aspiring young tree skiers.
post #9 of 11
Don't waste your time at Jay. It is NOT THAT GOOD! The facilities are run down, the lifts are slow, and the mountain is not very challenging. People rave about their off-piste skiing but I just don't see what all the hype is about. Stowe has better off-piste by a mile.

Ski at Smuggs, Stowe, Sugarbush and/or MRG. They are all great mountains in Northern Vermont that are far better than Jay.
post #10 of 11
I recently went to both and was far more impressed with Smugg's. I think the conditions have to be really good for Jay to live up to its hype whereas Smugg's can please pretty easily. Sugarbush is better then both imo.
post #11 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blizzboy283 View Post
I recently went to both and was far more impressed with Smugg's. I think the conditions have to be really good for Jay to live up to its hype whereas Smugg's can please pretty easily. Sugarbush is better then both imo.
Now here's someone who knows what he's talking about. Smuggs blows Jay out of the water!!!
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