Monday, December 28, 2009

Eagerly anticipating the New Year's Powder Event

SBR, BT, JJ, DC, Pudd, Claire, Throckmorton, Gollum & family are all joining Dogski and Sklinda for New Year's. If the weather forecasts are accurate, it will be an epic Jay Peak experience. If nothing else, it will be be better than last year. JJ and DC will be fresh off the plane after spending Christmas in Colde & Rainye Olde England, while the rest of us will be migrating from the wilds of Ontario.

SBR finally got ski brakes to fit the Prophet 100s. Actually, he spent the early evening grinding plastic off the only Salomon wide brake available in the land of skinny skis so it would fit his bindings.

Stay tuned for the full report.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Why is THIS the Real Jay Peak Snow Report?

Editor's note: This may be the Best Post Ever and I didn't write it. Still finding the Internet a bit of a boggle, Jonny Jay asked for my assistance in posting this trip report. Once I picked myself up off the floor after falling off the chair laughing, I decided that it must go up immediately, especially now that our new friends over at The Snowway have posted about skiing at MRG and not Jay. This post will explain why The Snowway made a good decision. It also makes me think I should review my series of emails to Bill Stenger from some years back and see what progress he has made. On a side note, there are some trail and lift names mentioned that do not appear on the trail map. The dedicated Jay Peak skiier should have no difficulty figuring out what they refer to. SBR

 Jonny Jay's new helmet is ready to go...

Here is the true state of Jay Peak this weekend, as seen through the eyes of Jonny Jay himself:

The adventures of SBR and Telemark Dave and their thigh-deep skiing is the perfect backdrop to Jonny Jay’s first trip to our mountain this year. After all the buzz about the big storm last week and checking the Jay web site I was pretty stoked about getting out the boards and trying a few turns on Saturday, since my dahlin' companion was off to the homeland. Even Pudd was thinking of taking the 8-hour trip after reading Weather from the Hill,” who was projecting close to 2 feet of snow if all the stars were in alignment!

I decided to get an early start so was out of the JJ clubhouse by 8:20 (that’s early for this time of year), as I had to get my new pass on the other side. Reality started to sink in on my way up the Mountain Road as the snow banks looked a little washed out and the snow in the Dip was looking a little sparse to say the least.  So I wheel in to the Tramside Parking and see the new Ice Rink is really taking shape – and the multi-level parking garage beside it! Multi-level parking garage you say? In the middle of nowhere? Ah but maybe that’s where they are going to put the new bathrooms for all these new skiers, skaters and ice dancers who will use the new parking (note to self: Hang out in garage on windy snowy day just to see the chaos). Of course the new wave pool might be a bathroom alternative, but I digress. 

 The new washroom facility at Jay Peak?

All went well, picked up some new cool Jay posters and had my picture taken with my back to the sunny window so I look like Darth Vader (wait till Bill sees those pics – anyone could pass for me if they put on my infamous jacket cause that’s about all you can see in the photo – it’s Jay Peak after all and why we love it so). Off I go inside to boot up and all is well, with lots of familiar faces doing the right of passage that a new season always demands. Since I am alone (and field testing a new helmet) I wonder if the Tram is running as I didn’t recall a lineup in my excitement to get going. Anyway, feeling invincible with my new helmet, off I go. But the Tram is not running and neither is the Flyer, so the Snail Chair is the ticket. 20 runs open they say – I start counting as I am going up the Snail and I am at about 15 runs when you include Upper and Lower Snail, Chalet Meadows, Perry Merrill and Upper, Lower and Middle Fiddle Faddle. That still leaves the Jet, Haynes, Montrealer and maybe even Timbuktu or the Derrick or, if I really want to test out the helmet – the KITZ.

As I negotiate the Perry Merrill over to Stateside I have some time to think about the lack of cars in the parking lot and how fortunate I might be. The adrenaline kicks in and I decide to tuck it so I don’t have to hike over the ditch to the Jet. Of course the Red Chair is not “turning” as they now say at Jay Peak and up ahead is someone starting to hike up – guess he didn’t want to buy a ticket. Whoa! Sign ahead – Jet Chair Closed – Whaa!!!! 

 A sign of the times

 I see a patroller going in the hut so I ask about the chair’s status: “Well it was out of order yesterday but today it is closed because it is really windy up there”. "Windy?" says I, loving it when the wind dumps all the snow at the left edge of the Jet, “Yes,” she says, about 55mph gusts.” She sees the look on my face even with the new helmet. “Well it’s Jay Peak,” she adds with a bit of a knowing glance. Maybe the new Jay Peak, says I inside my helmet, but the old Jay would have had the lift “turning” if even at such an unbearably slow speed that would make you wonder why it was open. So there I was watching my buddy hike up to get some turns – an activity that, at my age, I only reserve for those days when there really is 2 feet of snow. Realizing my shortcomings, over to the Moose T bar (no Moose there but maybe he hasn’t come out of hibernation yet) and back to the Snail. On the trip up my two chair companions were saying how all this construction was good for the local economy and would bring lots of new people to the mountain. Foreign money they say. From Dubai – my mind wandered to the parallels between what is happening in Dubai right now and whether Jay needs a waterpark to survive but I also realize that it must change with the times. Ever the pragmatist, I ask, “But where are all these new visitors going to crap?” Well I then learn that another $100 million or so will solve that and that next year the old Stateside Lodge will be replaced and will probably have new bathrooms. Again the cynic in me remembers staring at the “27 Hole Golf Course Coming Soon” sign that hung in the stairway for about 27 years it seems – but it did come eventually in all its magnificence. I also wonder what happened to the skiing/riding part of the investment as in the planned terrain expansion . . .  Anyway I agree that the investment is good news except I know we will all be nostalgic about that funny little place where you can bang your heads on the heater and sit at homey picnic tables – that’s my Jay Peak. And that’s the Jay Peak that Throckmorton and his sidekick Gollum will be telling their children about years from now.

Anyway, this time off the Snail I decide to live dangerously and do the right side of the lift over to Deer Run etc. Whoa again! Another sign – “Thin Cover” it says! I decide to take the bull by the horns – after all it probably will be better than when the Kitz or River Kwai says thin cover – and off I go all the way past Deer Run. Snow had a manmade feel to it and had a thin crust so I decide to “give myself a challenge” and go to the sides. It was a bit tricky as I must have been off-balance on the left side due to my surgery last summer (can’t think of any other reason) but I held it together. After one more uneventful run I decided the legs had a big enough workout so I better pack it in.

Then I played tourist. The new hotel is looking very good and blends in much better than expected. I checked out the new rental shop (in the lower stone section of the new hotel near the tram building) and it is very spiffy, with automatic sliding doors for those returning skis – no more Warren Miller moments of a beginner with an armful of skis and poles trying to open the door. On my way home I checked into Stateside to put the lock on my locker and check things out. Well this summer they had repainted the lockers but had forgotten to open the doors to let them dry – doors were painted shut and I it took me five minutes to get mine open, with a few tourists looking on like I was “completely mad.” Ah that’s what I love about Jay – it’s quirky, it’s still old school despite the new fa├žade and it’s ours! Oh and you can’t beat the skiing on a good day, rainy day or any other day. And the Jay Snow Reports – they have always been there “as a guideline” only as we all know – the challenge is finding out for yourself. They did get a good dump – it just wasn’t there when I was. See ya out there soon.

Jonny Jay.

The "new snow" at Jay Peak on Saturday

Friday, December 11, 2009

How to deal with a "Snow Emergency"

Make your own hill, then go ski it!

First of all, this post has nothing to do with Jay Peak but it has everything to do with skiing deep powder.

Here is the news story from Hunters Bay Radio:
Mayor Declares Snow Emergency

The Town of Huntsville is under a Snow Emergency today. Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty declared the emergency this morning at 5 am and asked everyone to stay home today.The Trillium Lakelands School Board shut down their schools today to all students...schools are open to any teachers that can make it. The District of Muskoka also urges all motorists to stay off the roads as requested by the OPP. The District says that although crews are out clearing snow, secondary and local roads may be impassable. The District has also closed all landfill sites today as security personnel are not able to get to work. Residents of Huntsville that did not get garbage and recycling pickup yesterday can expect service tomorrow. Some businesses are also affected by the weather...the Huntsville Place Mall is amongst those businesses that are closed.
Well, we can't go to the mall, whatever shall we do? Like good citizens, BT and I decide to stay home. First order of the day was snowblowing the drive way. Then I decided to be a good samaritan and snowblow the neighbours' driveway (in case you are not familiar with our rural lifestyle, our snowblower is attached to a good-sized Kubota tractor). Not familiar with the layout of Kyle and Kelly's winding long drive, I got a little too close the the edge of a ditch and slid in sideways. Several expletives were heard. Two hours later, after a variety of different approaches, we managed to pull the beast out the ditch with our trusty Toyota truck, with BT at the wheel.

The loyal Kubota, not stuck. Yes, there is a Jay sticker on the other side.

Finally getting home, who do find in our driveway but Telemark Dave, driving his wife's Subie Forester! Even his trusty Sneco is a little low-slung for our unplowed road. Well, there was no choice but to go skiing and celebarate Dave's birthday with the opening of our newest glade run, Secret Hill. Dave and I have been scoping this hill for a few years and finally used the long, snowless fall for some judicious pruning. Hey, it's only a hill but it is our hill and the snow was thigh deep. Check out the pics here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Run-in of the day, with no snow on the ground

Every now and then, something happens to warm the heart of your inner skier. These experiences are really important when there is no snow on the ground and you know  that other people are skiing, somewhere.

Last night was Warren Miller movie night in Huntsville, presented by The Official Ski Shop and emceed by yours truly. This year's film, Dynasty, is one of the best from WME in a long time. The segment about Mongolian ski culture alone is worth the price of admission. And how can you not like a ski movie that has Deep Purple's "Space Truckin'" in the soundtrack?

So, there  I was in the lobby of the Algonquin Theatre , handing out free Burton posters to any kid that walked through the door, and even a few grown-ups. I am proudly sporting my new Line t-shirt. The snowboard kids are looking at me suspiciously.

SBR's new shirt as displayed on the Line website  

All of of a sudden this 11 year-old boy marches up to me, points at the shirt and says:

"Cooooool, Line skis!"

SBR, in a conspiratory tone: "Prophet 100s, man*"  

Grom: "Sweeeet!"

The kid continues on with free poster in hand, both him and his parents with big smiles on their faces. I think, yes, I am a skier

* I guess I should have called him "dude" but hey, I grew up in the age of "man" and can't quite get my head around "dude" in serious conversation.  

Monday, November 9, 2009

Run of the Year 2008-2009

Dogski and Linski invited their 11 year old grand daughter to ski with them for a weekend at Jay. Typical February Jay colder than the hearts of jilted lovers and windier than Cape Storm.

Allison one of our grand daughters hadn't skied for two years but was certainly up for the game getting better every run of the morning. In the early afternoon after lunch we decided to go up the Jet to ski the Derek.

As I tipped over the top I heard Linski yell to Allison "follow Grand Dad". As I had already launched I really didn't think much about it and careened down towards the lowest cross over to the lower UN at pretty much full warp.

You know the feeling you have when you think someone is watching or following you? I had it all the way down the hill as hairs rose on the back of my neck and mental warning lights flashed.

At top of the last pitch to the crossover i couldn't stand it any more and I looked behind me ... my instinct were right. I was being followed. Allison was not three meters behind me with a smile as wide as barn door and completely in control ... run of the year................Dogski

Jay says no to septic renovations

Sklinda and I visited the new Jay Peak Lodge and the twin pad & amp; water park facility a short while ago. Holy awesome, you won't believe how upscale the lodge is and how huge the ice facility is. I think we'll all need to invest in skates now.

We looked in vain for a sign that the State Side Septic Renovations were under way but that seems but a dream.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

OMG! Someone beat me to it and it's not even snowing.

Dogski, not annoying at all! It's reassuring to see that our humble clan has not forgotten about the JJ blog. I was gearing up for a post tonight and was stoked to see that you were already on top of things.

Well, game on, as Pudd would say.

So, new skis for a couple of us this season...

Throckmorton, through the assistance of the official ski shop, has obtained a pair of Salomon Lords. I have to say that it warmed my heart to see him peeking around the corner when we pulled up to Pudd's house for the after-auction party with the skis stashed in back of the Snowbaru. As I am sure any of us can recall, there is nothing so so exciting in the world of a 16 year old skier as the sight of your first pair of serious skis, purchased with your own money. Rip it up, Throcky. Hopefully you will post a pic of the Lords in some place of honour, waiting for the first turn.

Hey, if someone is going to be a Lord, someone else might as well be the Prophet. SBR may have to change his handle, due to the fact that he is awaiting shipment of a shiny new pair of Line Prophet 100s. Looking forward to ACL reconstruction in the spring of 2010 (oh, didn't you get the memo) SBR was seeking something a little turnier and fatter. The Prophet is it and may be the ideal Jay ski. Extensive Internet research narrowed down the choice between the Prophet 90 and 100, and after much deliberation and consultation, the 172 length was selected. SBR even emailed the Line Ski Company for an opinion and was impressed that resident pro and ski designer Eric Pollard answered his question, agreeing with Pudd and The Green Beret that the 172 would be the way to go. SBR is hoping that he can keep up with these skis and is training in earnest.

Meanwhile, we are waiting for snow and reveling in the fact that the ortho Dr. has recommended lots of strength training prior to surgery. We interpret this as more skiing.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Just to be annoying

Hi all wanted to be the first to add to the JJ blog this ski season. (The season has started because A) it has already snowed at Jay and B) our skis are at the house in Montgomery and C) it feels right. We are planning our first weekend at Jay on Dec 5th assuming it opens. G.O.D.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Our report is better than their report

SBR here, signed in under Blue Toes' account. This is a groundbreaking moment. We're camped out at the JJ clubhouse, blogging away on a poached internet signal.

BT and I have joined JJ and the DC for a a possibly final weekend of skiing at Jay. The drive down was a bit wet. This morning, inquiring minds wanted to know: "What is the snow report?" Snow report, we don't need no snow report: it will be mixed precipitation, machine groomed granular, rain at the bottom, snow at the top." And so it was, fun and fast for the first two runs, then getting wetter and mushier as the day went on. DC joined JJ and SBR for two runs in the am, then left when the rain started in earnest. JJ and SBR then experimented with Valhalla ("picky"), BP (mushy), Exhibition (a little fast) and Haynes (mixed crud). Low visibility, wet and a lot of fun.

All for now - we're off to the Belfry. JJ is tying his boots.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Jonny Jay digs in to the archives for six degrees of separation

As you might imagine, the tragic death of Shane McConkey caused some chatter on the Jonny Jay sno-phone. Turns out that, back in day, Jonny himself went skiing with Jim McConkey, Shane's dad, while Jonny was doing the ski bum thing at Whistler (as it was known then, only as Whistler).

Among other things, Jim ran the ski shop and so was Jonny's boss at Whistler. As a reward for all their hard work that season, he treated his staff to a day of heli skiing on a nearby mountain named Blackcomb Peak. Jim would have been in his mid-forties at the time and Shane possibly just born.

JJ waiting for the heli in super-cool fashion.

JJ, as ever, enjoying the food. Note the classic Trappeur boots. McConkey is behind with the ball hat and camera.

Jim McConkey launches off while everyone else stands around.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Storm Skiing on Jay Peak

I have to concur with the previous blog. New Years Day was probably the closest I will ever get to Everest. The wind was screaming and the ice was hard but I had a great time. The JKF was true eastern skiing.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

"Run of the Day" on New Year's Day

What a crazy day to go skiing. The car reported that it was -20 C in the parking lot, the hill was reporting 60 MPH winds at the summit, which means the temperature was pushing -40 with wind chill. I had to borrow Max's scarf to avoid frostbite. I can't remember the last time I skied with a scarf. Tram and Freezer both on wind closure. Pudd and I skied in the afternoon and had a blast despite the arctic conditions. The best run was hiking off the Bonaventure chair to go over to JFK. Pudd found a sneak route to avoid the snow-less expanse of the upper JFK. Only at Jay will people hike for groomed hardpack. The run was fresh corduroy, ultra fast, no other skiers. At 2 pm we were the third and fourth set of tracks down JFK. Woo hoo! Then up Snail, down Perry Merrill, up the Bonnie again, do the hike, down Wedelmaster to Ullr's and Beaver Pond, where we found the odd patch of powder.