Monday, May 6, 2019

Last day of the season at Jay Peak

Loyal followers of this blog (I know you are out there) will have noticed a dearth of posts this winter. Long story short, life matters prevented some of us from visiting Jay Peak as often as we'd like, and your humble editor never made it there at all. Harrumph.

Fortunately, our stalwart reporter Jonny Jay did make the trek down the last weekend and sends this report and some excellent images:

Warning this might depress you -- or perhaps it will make you feel mellow for a minute! Saturday was dense fog but a very fun surface with a few inches of corn snow on top of the ice sheet. Sunday the sun came up and I was there skis on the mountain before 9:00! Got a little heavy by 10:30 or else my legs were weak . . . People arriving at 11:00 with parking full. Other than the pictured toughies, the Goat and Northway were superb. No one on the Goat because that side of mountain was closed -- lovely cruising.

Wait a minute, they never said anything about this in the Snow Report...

We're thinking the Can Am is done.

Summit ridge, hmmm.

A rare and collectable selfie of JJ. Note the jaunty hat.

The JPSP displays their typical honesty.

Timbuktu looks nice.

Still in Timbuktu.

Kitzbuhel is a little picky.
Bye bye, ski ya next season.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Sad news from Jay Peak

RIP Bruce Charron
Tragically at Jay Peak, we have lost a fine man, loyal, full of fun, a good friend and awesome skier. Bruce was a proud family man who lived with passion and pride. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.

from Jonny Jay

Bruce at the annual Stateside tailgate party

Thursday, January 17, 2019

PFC at Jay Peak

Anyone going to Jay Peak this weekend? Looks like lots of snow and pretty chilly:

Forecast for January 17-21, 2019.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"601 to Micky...601 to Micky..."

Chances are, Micky was here:

March 2015. First tracks.
One of our favourite runs at Jay Peak has a new name. Powerline, once the line of the "red chair" and a power line with guy wires that could decapitate you, is now 601 (the upper part) and Micky (the lower part).

Powerline is one of those special runs at Jay. In our family's Raised Jay traditions, getting the invitation to ski Powerline from an older brother, uncle or even Dad was a real coming-of-age thing. One day you were deemed ready and got the nod. With that under your belt, you could move up to other challenges. It is not the most difficult trail at Jay by any means but it is quirky, off-kilter and challenging, and for some, even the name added to the intimidation factor. 

Thanks to the the ever-vigilant-on-social-media Steve Wright, we learned that "601" was the radio call number of long-time ski patrol director Peg Doheny. Micky is her husband, as in Micky Doheny, the long-time ski school director. When she needed to track him down on the mountain, it was "601 to Micky" over the radio. Out of respect for the couple's long service to Jay Peak and its skiers, it seemed fitting to the powers-that-be to rename one of Micky's favourite runs in their honour.

The new name(s) seemed a bit unusual at first, and even caused a bit of upset in this group of change-resistant skiers. Once we learned the backstory, though, I think we'll come to embrace it. 

I'm told that the new Jay Peak magazine has the full story, and I'm looking forward to reading it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

First and last at Jay Peak

Full coverage, let's ski the Kitz.
A variety of circumstances prevented me from getting to Jay Peak this winter but, finally, in late April, the planets lined up for a road trip. After some frantic packing, I herded the canine into the Snowbaru and hit the road for Vermont to meet up with Jonny Jay.

JJ on the Derick. No snowmaking here.

 Once again, your faithful reporter found himself driving through the snowless flatlands of Ontario, Quebec and northern Vermont on the premise that there was actually snow at Jay Peak. In the end, there was lots of snow for late April, reasonable weather (mostly) and even a tailgate party. All things considered, the wait was worth it. Well, maybe not worth having bronchitis for the first half of the winter. But some fine skiing, surprising snow coverage, a complete lack of lineups, canine entertainment and catching up on brotherly matters all added up to make for a fine long weekend.

Lots of snow in the woods of Timbuktu

Friday offered the best weather but the slowest snow. We made the mistake of going for the normal spring skiing routine: show up late for the softer snow. We should have got there earlier for the firmer snow, oh well. Only the Jet and Taxi chairs were running that day, so a complete exploration of the Jet area proved quite worthwhile. After warming up on the Montealer, we found the Haynes to quite lovely, and were stoked to find full coverage and nice slow moguls on the natural snow of the Derick Hotshot. We even gambled on Lower Milk Run, a family favourite, and found it very skiable except for the sketchy last bit below the Sweetheart cut-off (what is that - Kangaroo?).

Nice cooking platform!

Rain was forecast Saturday but despite some threatening clouds, it never materialized. In fact the day was a nice mix of sun, wind, cooler temperatures (still above freezing) and interesting clouds. The snow was firmer and faster and with the opening of the Bonaventure Chair, more ski options opened up. We skied both Timbuktu and Expo Glades and my ski legs found the snow VERY heavy in there. Jump turns, anyone? Despite that, coverage was impressive for the time of year. Run of the day was probably Kitzbuehel, another natural snow favourite. Soft bumps, one rock sticking out at the top and nary a bare spot. Unbelievable. Lunchtime was a real treat, we enjoyed the generous tailgate hospitality of the Alpine Haven crew, grilled up some burgers, ate pickles, drank beer and actually socialized. In our world, this is a big deal, really.

Two lonely burgers. Things heated up quickly.

Sunday was a bit wet. Really wet, actually. As the ads from the 90s suggested, it was "a great day for Gore-Tex." Or a collectible Jay Peak plastic bag raincoat, take your pick. Despite the precipitation, the skiing was fast and reasonably firm and the hill was empty. How often do you and 25 friends get to have Jay Peak all to yourselves?

Foggy and wet on the Haynes.

I've left out a lot. For me, the Jay experience includes much more than skiing. There is shopping at Sylvester's, chatting with Don (missed that this time), complaining about Jay stuff, walking three deaf dogs, eating, drinking a bit too much, stoking the wood stove and much more. Despite of all the changes and strange goings-on of the last while, the fundamental ski experience at Jay Peak is really like that marketing slogan from a few years ago: Unchangeable.

The indubitably unchangeable Jonny Jay. The bag is collectable.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Firm but fresh at Jay Peak

Jonny Jay reports that the 3-5" of snow that fell on Friday was welcome news and provided a much needed cushion on top of a very crisp surface. Groomers were great in the morning and very fast as the day went on; the gladed trails were much improved, but you had to be on your game as conditions alternated between the untouched "freshie" and the very firm bumps underneath! Thigh-burning but fun. Lots of base still and the cold weather will hopefully ensure good skiing late into April or early May. See you there.

The tailgate weekend is April 28 if you needed an excuse to come to Vermont.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Heads Come Together at Jay Peak

Editor's note: Somewhere in my collection of memorabilia I have a button from the 70s, with a picture of all the Head skis of the day, arranged like a flower. Very psychedelic, no? The tagline reads: "Head Come Together." All these years later, it is happening for Jonny Jay. Here is his report, punctuated by an image of Jay taken yesterday. Don't go launching yourself off the lip of the Can Am anytime soon.

A little scrapey perhaps? Click image to enlarge.

Jonny Jay gets new skis...

After 50 years Jonny Jay finally gets new Heads! Check out the old ones with the Marker toe piece and long-thong heel binding -- a revolutionary step forward as the original heel piece just pivoted for twists; this one actually released in a forward fall! Some will remember that the long thong was wrapped around the boot ankle for added support before the days of plastic shells. Not fun wrapping them around your boots at minus 20!

Old boards are 205cm Head GS, circa 1968; New boards are a 171cm 2018 Head Kore-93 -- thanks to Algonquin Outfitters for making it happen.

The mountain is hanging in although last weekend was a little picky on runs like Can-Am, as seen in the photo. Really rocked Chalet Meadows with the new skis!

Early report: stable at speed, very good hold on the ice and chalk, very responsive, handled with ease the wee bit of soft snow and crud that I could find.