Jay Summit? I thought it was called Jay Peak.
Summit: a get-together of some Ski Bloggers from the Northeast of the continent.
I was fortunate to be invited to join this first NSBS. Kudos for Harvey Road to get the snowball started and to Sick Bird Rider from the Real Jay Peak Snow Report for laying down the groundwork. Riverc0il from The Snowway and Matt of Ski = MC Squared and MadPat were just too happy to participate. The fact that Ullr turned potential ugly weather into a powder day for us was even better. Thank you for Steve of Jay Peak for making us see how the other half lives by hosting the first NSBS, the snow and the tour and the frank discussion on upcoming changes.
The summit was a three-day affair between people that frequented each us through blogs and ski forums for a number of years. My late-mother always warned me about people you meet on the internet. A chance to meet in-person, ski and share our thoughts on skiing, blogging and Jay. I had already meet and skied a few times with Riverc0il (Steve) from The Snowway and had one great day of Spring corn at Whiteface with Harvey and James from Harvey Road a few years ago. The summit was a way to share our thoughts and impression on many things, including thoughts on some of the changes planned for Jay Peak.
MadPatSki can’t unfortunately do everything at once. Challenges of skiing, blogging about it, being involved at different places, plus juggling a family and a job isn’t always easy. Instead of skiing on that Day One, I was at work. I was also entertaining the possibility of going to my Wednesday night Ottawa Masters race at Cascades. I was torn as I love racing at Cascades. Debating until that afternoon if I was going to race and then drive the 4 hour plus to Jay. A surprise to some, but I can sometimes be reasonable. I decided to skip the race and head for the Summit after supper. Meanwhile I had received an email regarding the location of our condo and the great skiing there was at Jay. I drove across the border at around 11:30pm with three pairs of skis. A small chat with the border guard about snow at Jay. He was definitely a skier.
Reports from Day One:
Harvey Road: Jay Peak, VT: 3/2/11 and Northeast Ski Blogger Summit 2011
The Real Jay Peak Report: NSBS Day 1: What a day!
The Snowway: Jay Peak Powder! NSBS Day 1
Ski = MC Squared: Northeast Ski Blogger Summit
Woke up in a beautiful condo. Beautiful Cold Blue Bird day outside.
I walked in the neighbouring condo to meet the rest of the group. Besides our addiction to snow, our group was all over the map.
Our Geography spanned New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and Ontario with roots all over the places. Roots in the Boston, New York, Albany, Colorado, Montréal, Québec, Ottawa and the way to the Muskokas.
From Boomers, Gen X to Ys also know as the Net Generation. From skiing lifers to leraning in their adults years. Jay passholders (ex and current), to those who remembered the riding Jet T-Bar to newbies to Jay. New bloggers, old bloggers, ski forums members all the way to the rec.skiing newsgroup days of the 90s. Telemarkers and Skiers.
Old Jay Peak versus the New jay Peak Resort with a new hotels, Ice Haus and indoor waterpark.
Old trails and newer trails, glades and out of bounds.
The six of us, all with a different relationship and history to Jay. He share one thing, our passion for the sport.
After breakfast, we all walked out of our condos and skied down to the Village chair. Heading to the Tram Base for a first real run on the Tram. Not the original Red and White one, but the newer and bigger Green and White. All of Jay lifts except two beginner lifts have the new ticket scanning system. I believe Le Massif installed the same system this season). No more ticket checkers, you just walk through the giant grocery scanner and it validate your pass.
The tram was shutdown on the previous day. Good potential for fresh tracks. We missed the first tram (or was it the second) The door was shut just before us. We can blame this one of us, this person didn’t realized that he needed to put his ski boots as we skied down from the condo. Second (or was it the third) tram up.
The loading for the Tram was a bit cumbersome and it wasn’t as efficient was the old fashion way. The loading was slow. Slow enough to leave time for Harvey to take a group picture. That would have been impossible in the past, as skiers are generally loaded Trams like cattle, no time for pics on a blue bird day, especially when it was the Quebec Spring Break or any other Holiday.
Jay Peak had some issues initially installed the new system. Much better now, but there are still a few things to tweak in the new arrangements. The first weekend of the year was a true nightmare, but they have learn and has addressed the situation. I’m confident they’ll figure it out and make it more efficient.
Once at the top, the collective skied on one of the old signature trail from the top; Green Beret. Unfortunately James took the long way down as he had a hip issues and was going to have surgery. The edge was rough and bony as it was windblown, but once you dropped in the snow was real good. Pow, Pics and Tricks.
We skied into the woods once Green Beret was done, but it wasn’t the traditional Jay of my youth. Virtually a groomed open trail skiers all year, it took me a couple of turns to get into Vermont woods mode. Up Bonnie Quad then off to the old Poma Line and into Beyond Beaver Pond which has been since renamed. A short glades vertical wise, but it often a good place to go. We weren’t alone as we could see the odd skiers/boarder in the woods.
A couple of more runs then we headed for lunch at Stateside. Never really noticed the architecture of the place. However Harvey’s first picture from his post got me noticing. It’s a very simple building, it doesn’t look like anything, but I find it esthetic. This Lodge hasn’t changed since I’ve been a kid while so many of the old infrastructures of my youth have disappeared or changed. For example, the totally different and brand new Tram Haus Lodge (or Hotel 1) with it’s huge rustic feel. It’s somehow similar in look to Lake Louise Day Lodge. Hotel 2 is currently being build. In the afternoon Riverc0il showed the group some of the most-known out-of-bound in New England. It’s funny that Gord, the Jay regular for many years had never gone it. I was surprised that I knew something that he didn’t about this place.
Matt had to leave us to go teach a ski-lesson back in New York State. That sounds like something I might have done. He was coming back much later. For one of the final runs, River and I took Harv for some more trackless snow. I wanted to do it today, as one more day would compact the powder even more. It was still good. Dropping at the road and walking back. A great day. Harvey had a huge smile on his face all day.
That evening, we followed SBR suggestion and eat at The Belfry in Montgomery Center. An incredible amount of cars for such a tiny place. I still don’t know how we were able to fit all inside. As we left, something ran right in front of the car. I saw a Deer the previous night, this time it was Harv. :O
It was a cold -15c blue bird day and some fresh tracks to be had, conditions and a mountain that never seems cold (on the emotional sense).
Day Two Summary from the other bloggers:
Harvey Road: Northeast Ski Blogger Summit 2011
The Real Jay Peak Report: NSBS Day 2: Oh darn, the sun came out.
The Snowway: Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder: Jay Peak–NSBS Day 2
Ski = MC Squared: Jay Peak Tease and Northeast Ski Blogger Summit: Inspiration
To be continued…