Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Spring skiing with Jonny Jay

by Jonny Jay
 
Just here to report that the skiing was epic on Sunday, April 23. Rained all Saturday night but I awoke to sun and blue sky. Off early, on the mountain by 9. Bonnie was on delay because of ice on the cables, believe it or not, and since the tram was closed and flyer on hold, I skated off to the triple. Groomed Jet first run, and even then the snow was thick enough to give my legs a work out. A little different in the shade on the Haynes where it was still very firm. Tried the Derrick but it was too crisp. Headed over to Bonnie and down Green Mtn Boys into North Glade for a bit but the exit was not good so I bushwacked back to trail trail. Up Flyer to Ullrs to check out Beaver pond. Perfect timing as the snow was just softening, moguls were round because of all the rain (some debris of course) but it was great, then traversed over to Andre's. There were a few crevasses on Kokomo and a couple of mud hurdles but snow all the way down. Next run was the JFK (had seen people heading that way so thought maybe). Lots of grass on the way to JFK but there was no rope so it was open, despite the ten-foot path of snow on the left and the grass and mud on the rest of the trail. Once over the hump the lower half was big rounded moguls -- awesome but am glad no one else was there because I took several breathers -- to enjoy the view of course.

Then back up and over and called it a day -- a new man after that.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March strikes again at Jay Peak

Nine days after Stella, you could still find untracked snow in NVT.

If you were lucky enough to be in northern Vermont last weekend (or born in the right place), you'll know how great the skiing was. After four great and different days at Jay Peak, I can assure you that there is lots of snow left. After an easy but still 7.5 hour drive down on Thursday, I changed quickly and headed up the 242 for a familiar easy-access backcountry run. Mt. Trixie was in fine form and, surprisingly, only sported a few tracks from previous skiers. The weather was cold, windy and the sky clear blue. What a fine welcome back that run was.

There are no lifts on that hill, unfortunately.
On Friday, the day dawned grey, gloomy and much milder. Pudd and I headed to the mountain with fairly low expectations, always a good policy for skiers anywhere. Even though we started the day at Stateside, we still managed to get on the first tram, and after weaving through the crowd at the top, scored first run down the freshly groomed Vermonter. Big GS turns, no stopping until we hit the Montrealer - what a run! Our good fortune continued when the snow started coming down at 10 and continued all day. Aided by the persistent wind, runs kept getting refilled and we even found four or five inches of untracked fresh snow on the middle Goat on our last run before lunch. Unbelievable. Our only bad call was JFK, a long time favourite. Sadly, the icy death moguls were not that much fun, even with fresh snow in the troughs. In the spirit of the day, this was all forgotten after we ducked in to Lower Everglade at the bottom of the pitch.

Pudd blending in to Beaver Pond on Friday.
 On the way up the Flyer on Friday, huddling up in the fierce wind, Pudd summed up our collective ethos: "This is why I like Jay Peak; it's bitter." No matter what gets built at the bottom, the mountain stays the same - cold, snowy, windy and rewarding.

Team Line having some deep conversation.
On Saturday we were joined by Jonny Jay, and with just three skiers, created a collective one-mountain experience of over 125 seasons. Kind of mind-boggling when you think of it. Knowing a mountain so intimately allows for some creative run-making. There is no stopping to check the trail map, just a discussion that usually starts halfway up the chair. While you would think that having having three people with that amount of combined Jay Peak experience sitting on a chairlift would make for some snap decision-making, usually the conversation would go like this:
"OK, where are we going?"
"You decide."
"No, I decided last time."
"Faacckk, why me. Uh, OK, how about upper blah-blah to lower-blah-blah"
"Hmmm. That could be good be good. But what about such and such woods?"
And so on.

The Vikings were everywhere.
 But the end result is always creative, fun and always a bit different. The trail maps are in our heads, even if we don't always agree on the names (who knew that Chute One is called Purgatory on the map). We ski fast, with few stops, and roam the mountain, putting together combinations like (forgive me for divulging) Goat - GMB - Flash - Bushwhacker - Ullr's. Sounds crazy but when you link it all together on an uncrowded day, it gives you a really fun, long run with little bit of almost everything. But was it Full Goat? I'm not telling.

Upper Kitz on Sunday. Marvellous.
 Pudd had to leave on Saturday afternoon so he could catch a plane to Vegas. What a world. And too bad, because Sunday was a perfect early spring day: sunny, warm but not too warm, fast snow and fewer people, even with the Bonnie on indefinite closure. We found great snow remaining in the BP/Andre's area, and even enjoyed a fine late morning run in Timbuktu. After an early lunch and two more runs, we called it a day and both packed up to head home. And let me tell you, there is nothing like a long drive home after such a weekend. What, I have to get out of the car now?

Jonny Jay in Timbuktu, 12 days after Stella.



Friday, March 17, 2017

Post-Stella day two

by Jonny Jay

JJ reports that there were no somersaults today and he did manage to snap a few pics:

Blue day at Jay

Somewhere in Andre's Paradise

The pitch on Ullr's Dream looking very dreamy



Thursday, March 16, 2017

A post-Stella report from Jonny Jay

by Jonny Jay

This just in from our spiritual leader:

Hi all:

Not a bad drive here yesterday because no one was on the road! Smooth sailing, plowed roads, bad visibility but not too bad. Secondary roads, including 78 and the road to the mountain, are covered in a heavy chunky ice.

Snow is waist deep at the clubhouse, both dogs disappeared when they ventured into the deep stuff.
Just got back from the mountain. Got behind an oil delivery truck coming back and he was stuck half way up the hill. Eventually got around him.

Nice to ski on snow again! Got to bed early, another good bit of snow last night, started off to the mountain but halfway up I remembered that my ski boots might be handy to have, so back to the house and off again. Remembering that I hadn't skied for almost a month, and haven't had much exercise, so I originally thought a cruiser might be in order. But I was late, so thought what the hell, I will do the Kwai to get away from the Ontario March break crowds (ed. note: that's Onatario in JPR marketing speak). The left side where Pudd and I usually go was untouched! Couple of turns to the rocky steep that is now covered in snow. First turn off the crest, beautiful, but I had forgotten about that gnarly little tree that juts out from the rock, which is now hidden from view (shades of Staircase), however all surprising good fun as I did a somersault on the way down, much to the delight of the skiers to the right heading into Vertigo. Nice soft landing. After a few of my favourite stashes (Flyer was closed) I was wiped and packed it in knowing I would be there tomorrow. Northway and Montrealer were like Western skiing - perfect snow but you couldn't see much with the blowing snow and flat light.

I will keep you up to date.

(ed. note 2): The Onatarians will be heading down next week. Save some snow for us!