We took a chance with the weather forecast and drove three hours to Jay Peak Vermont in off-and-on freezing rain. It’s a pretty drive once we headed down the 35 through Quebec to the tiny customs crossing and into Vermont. By the time we got to the hill the thermometer said zero and a light rain was falling.
The customer service was friendly and efficient and we were on the hill in no time. We took the 45 passenger Arial Tram all the way to the top, passing through dense cloud on the way. The snow conditions were surprisingly good, with lots of soft snow and good coverage.
We took an easy groomed run to start the season and get a lay of the land. It was apparent the top was going to be a challenge in the clouds so we switched over to the Bonaventure Quad. We then worked our way over to the Northway, a nice long blue run were we could really open our new Salomon skis (Merry Christmas to us!).
We went back in for lunch and the smells of Ramen noodles were amazing. Jay has some interesting food truck style options with the noodles being served from an old tram car and the Waffle Cabin also nearby.
After lunch we skied over to the Jet Triple Chair to check out the some of the steeper mogul runs. We tested our legs on U.N. and Hotshot Derick and we were surprised at how the snow was holding up in the rain. It was still soft and light, with very little ice anywhere.
Under the chair is the Jet run, which starts off black and finishes as blue. Along the way you get some fast groomed areas with moguls on the side directly beneath the chair and glades available on the other. This turned out to be our favorite spot in the afternoon. The perfect line was to take the groomed steep from the top to about mid way, and hang a left into the glades for some fun in the trees before kicking back out near the bottom.
And did I mention there were NO LINE-UPS? We really pumped out the runs in the afternoon and the rain switched over to snow so we were stoked! I also should mention how awesome the lifties were. They worked all day in the rain and always had a smile and a laugh for us.
In the gift shop we saw this great Ski The East T-shirt: « Snow, Sleet, Rain, Ice, Powder, Slush, Stumps, Bumps, Rocks, Guts, Grit, Glory ». It pretty much summed up our day.
Finally, it was time for an apres drink at the Bullwheel Bar in the Stateside Lodge. Might I recommend Flyin Ryan IPA from Long Trail Brewing Co. in Vermont. At 48 IBUs, it’s not overly hoppy but still gives a decent citrus flavor. Perfect for listening to some live music and telling lies about the day.
We had a blast in the crazy weather but we’ll be back to check out more of the mountain next time. Thanks Jay!