Monday, September 20, 2010

The rumours are true! Maybe.

Tired of reading people's theories about what lift is going where and whether or not a fixed-grip chair is better than a detachable one, I started scouting around on the Jay Peak web site, to see if maybe, just maybe, I'd missed something. Some blog post, press release (or as they now call it, a Social Media Release) or web site update regarding lift expansion. Nothing. What I did find was an invitation from marketing guy Steve Wright: "And we’re always open to suggestions on how we can improve.  Send them to the marketing guy at"

So yesterday, I sent Steve a question regarding the lift rumours, along with links to this blog and the thread on AlpineZone. He responded very promptly and also (coincidentally?) posted a public explanation today on AlpineZone. Good for you, Steve, and it's a good answer. The denizens of AlpineZone seemed to respond favourably. For you non-readers of forums, here is Steve's response:

Mill's grist.

Sorry about not chiming in sooner on this. We're not 100% sure on any of this so I'll give you a snapshot of where we are (philosophically) right now with it. Part of the reason we haven't been talking in public about this was to try and avoid the West Bowling of information as we've done in the past (having it on the trail map as coming soon for a decade sort of thing). As things come together in a more solid fashion, we'll let you know. For now though..

The existing Bonnie is scheduled to be replaced for next season. Current thinking is that the new lift might be placed on the Power Line trail with the top terminal on or about the top of St. George's-this is very similar to the old alignment of the original Bonnie Chair and would offer access to the JFK pod-insert 'If it aint broke, why'd you fix it' axiom here. To that end, we're installing an anemometer this fall to measure wind at that unload section to compare it to winds we've measured (ranging from Wow to Good Lord) along the Flyer line and the Tram Summit to make sure that if the new lift does go to St. George's then it will not be (as) affected by winds that tend to shut down the Flyer.

In order to address wind and chair-swing issues that were present in the original Bonnie line (great trail access aside), we are thinking that the new lift may be a six-pack (potential apologies Dale) as the chairs are considerably heavier (and thus less susceptible to wind), there will be fewer of them (giving folks more time to load) and we will design the uphill capacity to be in harmony with that of the terrain's downhill; capacity that is.

Side note-a number of bloggers and members of the social-media elite have asked why detachable chairs are more susceptible to wind than fixed-grips. It has to do with the need for the chair to be properly and well aligned with the terminal entry (not swinging) and this causes the lift to shut down (I'm oversimplifying here).

Current thinking also has us retrofitting the existing Bonnie Quad (we're not very good at throwing things away anyway) and used to replace the Jet Triple. Again uphill capacity would be designed and tweaked to sync with that of the terrain capacity so stay tuned here. The Jet Triple could then be re-installed to serve a lower-mountain pod that could include the terrain park (+1 to Riv here) and other pieces of intermediate terrain as well as access back to Tram Base from Stateside.

T-Bar his history-but we may end up with another conveyor lift to serve some beginner terrain and the kids area at the base of Stateside.

Sufficiently ambiguous? Sorry if I am but this stuff isn't near stone yet. As always, we'll try to make the best, most informed decision we can. Feel free to post or send ( comments and we'll consider them. Hope you're all well and looking forward to getting rolling soon.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jay Peak lift rumour hotbed, part two

Well, it seems that what goes around, comes around, especially on the Hinterweb. Fellow ski blogger Harvey44 sent me an email containing a posting from the AlpineZone forums. He is way more web-savvy than I and seems to have time to follow all these various discussions. The thread there was started by a skier called JPtracker after he/she read my original post about new lift construction rumours. JPtracker visited Jay Peak recently and unearthed some new dirt, again from Jay Peak staff:
Update to lift rumors:

Hiked the mountain today and talked to two different workers. The current favorite is that a new six pack will follow the line of the old Bonnie double up Power Line to Saint Georges Prayer. The Bonnie was moved from there because it was very prone to wind hold. The current thought is that because the six pack chairs weigh a lot more the the old double chairs they will be a lot less prone to wind holds. Also it will give easier access to the other side of the mountain. Down side is it will be a hike over to Can AM, Vertigo and Upper Quai. Noticeable on my hike were numerous survey stake along Saint Georges Prayer and Power Line which gives some backing for this rumor.

Not part of the rumor but my guess is that the replacement for the T bar can now use the lift line. They can use the old Jet Triple and have it exit where liftline meets Can Am. This would just be an easy ski down to the terrain park from here, or to Taxi to get to Tram Side.
The discussion continues on AlpineZone but at least we have confirmation that something is up. When will Jay Peak management come out of the ski locker and confirm these plans?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ski Shopping for Jonny Jay

OK, enough about resort development, let's talk about SKIS.

Jonny Jay has concluded that the Solly X-Scream Pilot Extra Hots may be a bit long in the tooth and that it is time for new boards. Since I, through my association with the Official Ski Shop, am the default ski acquisitor (is that a word?) of this crew, here are the SBR-recommended skis for our fearless leader. Since our humble blog now seems to have a bit of a following outside the family, I should explain the criteria.

We are seeking the perfect "quiver of one" ski for Jay Peak, in all conditions. The skier in question has impeccably smooth technique, rooted in old-school, feet-together style, honed by many years on his home hill. That said, none of us are getting any younger, so a ski that is light, responsive, powder-friendly but capable of being dialed back when the legs get a bit tired is the order of the day. This ski will be the perfect ski for the expert eastern skier who skis in all conditions. Tall order, or what!?

In general, I think the ski will have a 90 to 100 mm waist, a fair bit of sidecut and possibly some tip rocker for the powder days. Plus, the graphics can't be too wierd or vibrant. The current generation of rockered skis claim to be capable on hardpack but, with the exception of the Green Beret, none of us has actually tried a pair, so I think the jury is still out on full rockered skis. The GB, now firmly planted in the Wild West,  actually has two pairs, K2 Hellbents and 4FRNT EHP Pros, and seems to prefer the 4FRNTs.

So, without further ado, I present the SBR list of recommended skis for Jonny Jay at Jay Peak, in alphabetical order. Skis marked with an * are available through the Official Ski Shop. For anything else, you are on your own. There are a lot of skis left out here, I've focused on those that are readily available or, for some reason or another, just stand out in the crowd.


MSP: I seriously considered this ski when shopping for myself last year. It gets rave reviews from expert skiers as an "all-round" ski and has pretty groovy graphics. I decided against it mostly because I thought it might be a bit on the stiff side for me. Maybe not the ideal ski for JJ but probably the perfect ski for Pudd or his hard-charging brother. Here is one review and then another.


Access: Don't know much about this ski except what I read in the Powder Buyer's Guide. It has the right dimensions and is not overly hideous. I did track down a few vague reviews and they all seemed highly positive. You generally can't go wrong with Atomics.

Blog: What a great name for a ski! I must have them. This ski has full rocker plus camber. It would be a great candidate for the "quiver of two." Seems to get mixed reviews but I would really like to try a pair.


Wailer 95 or 105: When you win the lottery, these are the skis to get. Handmade, high-tech and have a huge cult following among the cognoscenti.


Spire: Flat tail, tip rocker, very light, quick turning. In theory, this may be the ideal ski for JJ at JP. And if it is good enough for Glen Plake, it is good enough for me. No reviews to be found.


Hardside: Similar specs to the Elan above and gets some good reviews. It might take a while to get used to the paint job but it would be fun to hear Jonny sing the "rocky K2" song again.


Prophet 90 or 100: I love my Prophet 100s. They are reasonably light and do it all at Jay Peak: turny in the soft stuff,  surprisingly nimble in bumps and seem to have no speed limit on hardpack groomers. Dogski said he thought I became a better skier on them. The 90 would be a little quicker edge to edge. I am still wondering if I should have got the 179s instead of the 172, despite the sage advice. Graphics are outstanding.

Prophet 115: I was very tempted to sell to P100s and get these. Sanity ruled, they might be a bit fat for a little guy's "daily driver." This again, could be the ski for Pudd or a second ski for JJ or I.


This "boutique" ski company has a big following and the skis are pretty affordable, even though you have to buy direct, on-line. The Billy Goat would be a great second pair of rockered fat skis for the "big" days, as professed here.


It seems we are a Salomon family. JJ and the GB both had the original X-Screams, JJ now has the Xtra-hots, Pudd rocks the magical Guns, Ron has the Crossmax, Throckmorton the Lords and I think almost all of us have Salomon bindings and/or boots. There also seems to be a love affair around here  with French skis: Salomon, Dynamic, Dynastar and Rossignol are all found in the ancient ski quivers of the Jonny Jay Ski Club.

Sentinel: This might be the Xtra-Hot for the new age. Like the Elan Spire and K2 Hardside, the Sentinel sports a rockered tip and flat tail but the graphics are way more understated. I don't think we need to read reviews, we just know these skis will work. You can read a strange but generally positive review here.

Shogun: Need to step out and go big? This could be it, though I think you'd be better off with the Line P100. The graphics are bizarre but not horrendous.


The coolest-looking skis on the planet. They probably ski well too.  Ullr's Chariot would be the pick.


The Gotama is seems to be the "go-to" everday ski of most western skiers. It may be a bit big for an old fart's everyday Jay Peak ski. You might consider the Mantra, which has a large following, though most reviews call it a "fat GS ski" and find it a bit on the stiff side. Graphics are very cool on both.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"Land swap" deal makes Jay Peak development possible

In an unusually investigative moment, Pudd discovered this article in the Burlington Free Press:

Read it thoroughly, as this historic deal explains many things, including:

1) why the much vaunted West Bowl Development never seemed to be going anywhere (because all along, BS and crew were in negotiations with the Long Trail people):
"The swap also sets the terms for future development in a bowl located beneath the ridgeline where the Long Trail runs."

2) that the rumour circulated by the tram driver (not George)  has some basis in reality: 
"the deal allows Jay Peak to realize more of its development dreams, such as replacing the antiquated “Stateside” lodge and upgrading adjacent lifts."

Wait a minute....

Upgrade adjacent lifts, OK. Replace the antiquated Stateside Lodge!!!!!????? We love the Stateside Lodge. The picnic tables that have 52 coats of paint on them. The smelly bathrooms. The "locker room." The septic smell wafting by the ski racks. OK, these are the down side. But the old lodge has that lovely '60s charm. the big windows, the nice deck, the "ski or drive up to the door" convenience. If they do build a new lodge, maybe we can lobby for the existing Stateside Lodge to be moved to the bottom of the Jet. Now, that would be a nice upgrade.

Wait, you mean there could be a nicer place than this to put your boots on?