Sunday, November 8, 2015

A late fall report from Jonny Jay

It is late in the fall, and this is a bit late. Oh well. Snow might be in the air somewhere but we are content to wait; no need to scratch the bases after all this time. But just to whet your appetite, here is Jonny Jay's scouting report on recent developments at good olde Jay Peak....

Skiers and riders can rejoice in the new infrastructure investment on THE MOUNTAIN this summer. Not condos or entertainment venues but an investment in improved skier experience. No, not the promised chairlift switcheroo and upgrade or the fabled West Bowl expansion -- we now have a new bridge from the Bonnie to the triple! With sidewalls! No more lost weekend skiers down in the creekbed . . .

The mountain always looks enticing at this time of the year, so check your gear and get pumped (no pumphouse pun intended). See you on the slopes people, and happy fall from the JJ clubhouse.
Jonny Jay

The new bridge will keep skiers in line. Or else.

Possible new Stateside infrastructure: thatched roof tribal hut or sand pile?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Pudd reports on a spring powder day at Jay Peak

by Pudd

I was at Jay on Thursday and Friday (April 23 & 24). Both days were good but Friday was epic. There was about 6 inches of fresh powder on the entire mountain, with drifts making it very deep in spots. Only the Jet was open but at 10am they opened the Bonaventure. For some reason everyone went down the Can Am that still had ice moguls on it, I chose to go Goat, Green Mountain Boys, Perry Merrill, with first tracks the whole way.

Glades were awesome and deep, a great way to the end the year.
For the first time, the new Stateside Lodge felt like home. When I walked in, there were six people upstairs, no school bus lights and Procol Harem's A Whiter Shade of Pale was playing.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Jonny Jay's weekend report from Jay Peak: Jay in good shape!

 by Jonny Jay

Can Am looking fat, Powerline not so much.
Jet side looks good
Saturday morning: sunshine, great temps and super spring conditions. After a quick trip down the Queens Highway to make sure our mutual aches and pains were in order, I headed up the Flyer while the English lassie toured the lower mountain. Couldn't resist heading over to family favourite JFK -- a little tight at the mid-point but my timing was perfect as the snow was just softening, the moguls were perfect and it looked like I was the first or second down -- sweet. Into Beaver Pond for a quick dip, then over to Can-Am to bite into the Volkswagen-sized moguls -- no barespots and in top shape, sadly the same couldn't be said about the River Kwai.

The UN Express.
Next up was good old Green Mountain Boys into North Glade -- about 11:00 am and again no one had been in, I guess they were waiting for the snow to soften. Awesome timing once again, best run of the day. Coffee break with Suse follwed Perry Merril trip over to the triple. I wasn't planning on it, thinking maybe Timbuktu or Derrick, but the UN beckoned me as I got off the lift -- the UN Express to anyone who skied in the olden days! Somehow the legs did what the head wanted -- works that way sometimes -- and it was classic UN. After that, a cruiser (I thought) on the Montrealer but there was Hell's Woods now calling -- alternate entrance the key but you can still get nice and high -- and it was still good at the top but getting a little heavy and my legs a little weaker. Ended the day around 12:30 and by 1:30 the rain came down.

Get there soon -- the skiing is great.


Stay left on JFK.
Looks like there is a line on the Upper Quai.

Hell's Woods looking good to go.

The DC enjoying the spring skiing, only a year after a broken femur.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Powder March is on at Jay Peak

Not Jay Peak but not very far away.
Now, THIS is tree skiing.
If you read this blog even rarely, you will have figured out that we typically report on recent experiences, as opposed to what is happening right now, or, like other snow reports, what is likely to happen in the near future. This week, the recent past and the the near future are lining up to be quite similar. If it is still Saturday, March 14, 2015, when you finish reading this, I suggest that you pack up the car and start driving, because tomorrow is shaping up to a powder day at Jay.

Once again, I locked in some holiday time and planned a Jay trip with high hopes that conditions would be good, or at least better  than what we found on our last visit (see below). Jonny Jay's report that it was "pretty good" left me optimistic, since he tends to be understated in his reviews. After three great days on the mountain, one of which was in the "lifetime top 10," plus two short but outstanding backcountry runs, I was definitely not disappointed.

Upper Quai - don't go there.
After arriving on Friday afternoon, I changed quickly and headed up the 242 for a little hike in the snowy woods. Driving by the Big Jay parking spot, I spotted a lone young snowboarder hitchhiking in an oddly frantic way. He looked to be in some distress, so I picked him up. While he was stashing his board and pack in the back of the Snowbaru, I observed that his board was not a splitboard and that he didn't have any snowshoes, either of which should be standard equipment for a snowboarder on a Big Jay outing (not to mention a couple of partners). I commented on the lack of snowshoes and he told me that he had hiked out.

"Really?" I asked.

"Oh yeah, man, it was up to my chest in places! Sometimes I just lay on my board and paddled with my arms."

"Like on a surfboard?" I wondered aloud.

"Yeah, like a surfboard, except you don't float in snow like you do in water."

No kidding, I thought. Long story short, he went on to outline his first trip to Big Jay: starting from the tram summit, consuming four beers along the way, coming close to riding off a cliff or two, not really knowing where he was going, and his epic slog out to the road. As far as I could tell, his only safety net was a cell phone, beer-fueled energy and a big dose of good luck. When I let him out near The Dip, I suggested that he start saving up for a splitboard, and he wholeheartedly agreed. Well, that starts thing off on an interesting note, I thought, and off I went into the trees.

A rare view of Powerline - untracked.
Speaking of trees, I spent a lot of time in the woods over the next few days. I don't know about you but when I ski solo, the instinct to explore takes over. Go here, go there, follow your nose, find that rabbit hole, wander the mountain. Snow conditions improved every day. As if six fresh inches on Saturday morning weren't enough, the day was highlighted by getting first tracks on Powerline at 9:30 am, and simply got better after that.

Some easy to find glade at JPR. On a Saturday.
 Sunday was similar, except for the time change. Yes, I forgot, and so did the 20 or so people in Stateside Lodge at 9:00, all thinking we were getting there for first chair but sheepishly putting on our boots while the neatly stored bags of the true early birds mocked us from the cubbies. It didn't really matter, the Jay Cloud had delivered another five or so inches of snow, so there was lots to go around until the hordes arrived at 11 am. Like the day before, little stashes of snow were there to be had all day. The secret stash of the day was completely unexpected: just looking for the most direct route to coffee, I took a shortcut through the Tramside terrain park and found boot-deep snow at the sides of all the features. Woo hoo!

Then there was Monday, March 9, 2015, a surprise powder day to be long remembered. Howling wind, thankfully milder temperatures and a lot more snow than forecast greeted the small and predominately grey-haired posse of skiers pulling on their ski boots at Stateside. This was a day to figure out the right aspect to ski, as the wind was piling snow up on certain sides of the mountain. I found places that were knee-deep and others where all the snow had been scoured away. Fortunately there was much more of the former. Then the sun came out. What a day!

No secrets - this was Timbuktu at 10 am on Monday, March, 9.
So that was the weekend that was. I could go on, there were many stories and many interesting people encountered. But it is enough to say that the mountain is well-stocked with snow, more is on the way and if you haven't been to Jay Peak yet this season, just go. Now.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Scrapey New Year!

"You should have been here last week."

A new view of Jay Peak from A-35. Vroom.

That was the unsaid greeting when Blue Toes and I arrived in Vermont, just before New Years. You know, before Christmas when there was some snow, even during the rain, when it was soft and the woods were in play. Before the Four Cowbramoosemen* of the Snowpocalypse rode in and spread Rain, Wind, Ice and Cold all over the mountain. Ah well, who knew that far in advance? The gods of vacation planning are fickle and sometimes you get what you get. So you run with it.
CanAm was not looking good on December 29. Or 30.

Like, for example, the Guy From New Jersey we met on the Bonnie, who opined that "well, everywhere else is just as bad or worse, so I might as well be at Jay Peak!" Kind of a JPR marketing guy's dream, this fellow was. Hey, the family was was happy in the waterpark, he was out skiing (or, "killing time between drinking," as he so eloquently put it), and in his world, life was awesome. Jonny Jay and I awarded him the Positive Attitude Award for the day.
Our new favourite thing to complain about: The Ditch at Stateside.

In the end, Blue Toes and the DC did not ski while we were down there. JJ and I did, because, well, that's what we do. There is this twisted enjoyment we share, related to skiing in adverse conditions and finding the silver lining. Where was the silver lining this time, after the bitter wind, lack of terrain, boilerplate ice and frigid temperatures? Not many people on the hill! No lines! On New Year's Eve Day, walking up and riding the Tram just to get out of the wind. Ripping down Ullr's at mach looney with nobody in sight. Ice, schmice. Kind of like the old days. And, of course, the apres-ski was fantastic. In our world, family fun always makes the trip worthwhile and highly entertaining.

A Jay Peak sunset, singing the blues.
* "Whats a Cowbramoose," you ask? Go to Jay Peak, check out the magazine cover. Or click here. Surrealistic Pillow, man.