Monday, January 21, 2013

The Nephews: An Unexpected Journey

...By Throckmorton

“This epic and historic trip needs to be documented on the blog.” 

Throckmorton is stoked and steezy at the wheel.
It may have sounded hilarious at the time but SBR could not have stated it more accurately than he did. For the first time ever, Grandpa Grindbar and Throckmorton took off for a trip to Jay without our parents. While it cannot be understated that their presence was sorely missed, it is was remedied by the excitement of the brothers heading out on their own. 

After an eight-hour car ride, with actual co-operation and perfect directions taken, we arrived at the Cliff House. There’s a number of reasons why this is one of the best feelings ever: 1) finally getting to stretch out intense cramping; and, 2) knowledge that tomorrow you will be skiing one of the best mountains in the east, after being away for what felt to me like an eternity. Reason number three is the most under-rated and that is the overwhelming feeling of family that we all feel when we come into the house for the first time. It hit me especially hard on this trip and I felt needed to be said.
Grandpa Grindbar enjoys a pre-Valhalla hot chocolate.
But, enough of the mushy stuff; let's get down to the important part. Day one could be described as full tilt, morning to afternoon, of Uncle Pudd and Great Uncle Jonny Jay trying to run their nephews into the ground, about which I’m going to suck up my pride and say: they did. It was definitely not a day of skiing defined as getting your legs back under you, but I couldn’t have asked for it any other way. 

It is important to note that the four of us, without intending to, took our first trip into the Sky Haus Deli, formerly known as Elevation 4000. It is MORE important to note that not only Pudd but also Jonny Jay, who does not greet change with a smile at the best of times, had nothing but positive and supportive compliments of what they have done up there. 

I also fell victim to the best fall of the week on the Upper Quai but such is life on the Quai. On the second day, I felt the Lords get back under me as Grandpa Grindbar, Jonny Jay and I braved the Jay winds that brought on another first, as the JPSP closed the Triple and not the Red, standard Jay Peak inverted logic. As the week went on, the skiing - especially the trees - just kept getting better, with more snow every night. By the final day, Grandpa Grindbar and I were privileged to have one of those runs you’ll remember forever in the Orchard. It was the run where your line is perfect, fresh white stuff the whole way and, of course, at the bottom, a crowd of people who stop and watch you stomp the line they wish they found.
The two of us skied harder than we ever have for those four days and did it with the stupidest smiles possible the entire time. We also achieved an official family first, with proof, that we scored the first perfectly co-ordinated hot chocolate break at the top of the mountain, followed by a run down Valhalla with no one else in sight. 

As always, leaving the hill for the final time is hard, knowing you have to return to the real world the next day; but, this trip, it was done with a proud sense of accomplishment from both of us. Really, the best way to sum it all up would be, as I sit here writing this, I just cannot wait to go back.

The Orchard awaits. Is this really Christmas week?

Editor's note: like it or not. Throckmorton and Grandpa Grindbar have been "Raised Jay." Every fledgling needs to get out from under the wing and this trip was their opportunity to do just that.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The wind.The wind...

The wind informed everything we did at Jay Peak this week. The way we dressed, where we skied, what lifts we rode and, maybe, even what we had for lunch. The wind was constant but it shifted around, pushing us here and there on the mountain. Boy, can you let the skis run when the wind is trying to push you back uphill.

Fortunately, the temperatures were moderate and it was quite bearable to ride a chairlift.

Conditions ranged from this (much better than it looks):
The River Quai in fine form. And really quite skiable.

To this nice surprise:
Four days after the last big snow, Jonny Jay finds some fresh tracks in a popular glade run on Tramside.
And this, even on Thursday, the last day before the thaw:
The wind kept putting the snow back after the skiers disturbed it. This was easy to find.
 There will be more to tell once I have caught up on my sleep.