Sunday, January 13, 2008

The lost runs of Jay Peak

Telemark Dave, one of our faithful (and perhaps only) non-family readers, recently commented to me that while he enjoyed the last two posts, he was concerned that the Jonny Jay blog was veering off in a decidedly non-Jay direction. Realizing the need to address this, I went and sat in the thinking room and perused this year's Jay Peak magazine (there's fuel for a rant...) for inspiration.

While gazing at the trail map in the magazine, it occurred to me that there are many trails at Jay that are "lost trails." Yes, you can see them on the map, rated green, blue or black and given a number but somehow, over the years, these trails have become forgotten, ignored or even lost their reason for existence. Some lost trails may still get skied regularly but somehow they have lost their original charm and character. Or maybe they have simply disappeared off the trail map, only remembered by those of us old enough to have ridden the Jet T-bar. These trails have been orphaned by lift relocation, the cutting of new runs, expanding old runs, glade development and even the changing tastes of skiers.

Imagine being a first-time visitor to Jay Peak and trying to find some of them. "Hey kids, we haven't skied Catwalk yet, let's try that one!" Pity the hapless intermediate that thinks it might be fun to try Wedelmaster. Good luck finding it!

Here are SBR's picks for the Lost Trails of Jay Peak. Feel free to comment or send me a description of the lost trails in your Jay world.

This is a work in progress. I'll keep updating this post as I have time and new information arrives.

1) St. George's Prayer - #36, rated intermediate
The ultimate lost trail. You couldn't pick a more suitable name for a nice trail that the average skier can't even get to. It turns out that George was a soldier and martyr who died around 303 in Palestine. Few details of his life are known and the best-known story about him is that he rescued a beautiful princess in Libya by killing a dragon. His name appears on a list of "good men, justly remembered, whose good deeds are known only to God."

Among other groups, George is patron saint of the Boy Scouts. This is a good thing, because you'll need the fortitude and perseverance of a Boy Scout to ski this run. Once a popular trail easily accessed off the original Red Chair, SGP is now only used as an out-run for those brave souls who have skied the Face Chutes. I suppose you could hike up to it off the Northway but really, would you?

2) Poma Line - #65, rated intermediate
Someone in this crowd might have ridden the Poma to the top of Jay Peak. I didn't but do have this dim memory of standing in a snow storm, somewhere on the Northway below the Sky Haus, looking at a line of rusting yellow towers (now gone) and wondering "why would they put a lift there?" Maybe this was the first time I questioned the sanity of the Jay management!

3) Catwalk - #17, rated intermediate
This trail seems to have no reason for being there at all. The map tricks you into thinking that Catwalk might be a short cut to somewhere. I don't think so.

4) Supertrail - not on the map
Somewhere under the windblown surface of the Can-Am lives the spirit of Supertrail.

Others to come: JFK, Lower Kitz, Upper Quai....


  1. St georges prayer

    Named after Father George St Onge of north Troy
    co-founder and fund raiser of Jay Peak ski area

  2. Thanks, Anonymous. Who knew about Father George but you?

  3. I kind of want to read part 2 of this... :)

  4. Ha, thanks for the reminder. I'll get to it one day.