Jay Peak – Best Terrain in the East

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Ski Enthusiast’s experience at Jay Peak was simply amazing due to its epic terrain, breathtaking views, pristine snow conditions and quality design. Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2005, Jay Peak continues to bring out skiers’ and riders’ passion for the support. With over 355 inches of snow fall a year, incredible glades, gnarly chutes off the peak, challenging mogul runs and Vermont’s only aerial tram, Jay creates a true big mountain experience.

The one thing that stands out most about Jay Peak is its superb terrain and quality design. Jay has everything a skier could hope for: renowned glades, challenging chutes off the face, steep, deep mogul runs that seem to last forever, winding groomers, big air terrain parks and excellent beginner terrain. The lift and trail layout also enables all the terrain to be accessed with only two lift rides and either base lodge can be accessed directly from both peaks. This makes it extremely easy to hit the best slopes and meet friends and family for lunch or après ski without wasting time trekking across the mountain.

jayimageSki Enthusiast cannot say enough about Jay Peak’s glades. Not only are there excellent expert glades to challenge elite skiers, but there are also great intermediate and beginner glades. Among Ski Enthusiast’s favorites were Everglade, Timbuktu, Kitz Woods, Beaver Pond Glade and Canyon Land. It was exhilarating to maneuver in and out of the trees, absorb moguls, duck branches and enjoy the serenity only the glades can bring. The trees were also well spaced for rhythm development yet preserving difficulty. Two other steep and gnarly glade chutes were Deliverance and Vertigo. Both were extremely difficult and challenged your ability to make quick turns and avoid natural obstacles. Some of the easier glades for intermediate / expert skiers were Bonaventure and Show-off Glades. For those just starting out in the glades, Moon Walk Woods and Bushwacker were good choices before graduating to Kokomo. (Photo by Skye Chalmers Courtesy of Jay Peak Resort)

Jay Peak also has a host of great mogul runs. Ski Enthusiast’s favorites included Kitzbuehel, Upper Can Am, Lift Line, Upper Milk Run, Power Line and UN. The upper half of Power Line was the least aggressive of the group and UN held the title for being the most difficult. The second set of moguls on Lift Line was also an excellent place to practice your skills due to its more moderate slope. There were also interesting moguls on the skiers’ right of The Jet. The top was particularly fun because you had to time the chair lift to avoid hitting your head on the lift.

A trip to Jay is not complete without riding the Tram and skiing off the peak. For intermediates, the Vermonter and Northway are magnificent, winding groomers with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. For experts looking for a challenge, there are plenty of opportunities including Face Chutes, Tuckermans Chute, Green Beret and Valhalla. Be forewarned that the entries are typically more difficult than the trails themselves as they are riddled with ice, rocks and other natural obstacles. However, they are manageable using caution and well worth the reward of skiing these exciting, steep chutes and glades.


Jay Peak View From Highest Peak

View from Highest Peak

With all this information on expert terrain, it is important not to forget that 60% of the mountain is dedicated to novice and intermediate skiers. Some of the great groomers not previously mentioned include Ullr’s Dream, Montrealer and Wedelmaster. There are also intermediate runs from every lift. Furthermore there is an extensive beginner area on the lower mountain.

Snow and weather conditions during Ski Enthusiast’s trip were nearly perfect … temperatures in the lower to mid 30’s, blue skies and powdery snow throughout the mountain. In the woods and on the bumps, snow quality was phenomenal with excellent coverage and very few bare spots. Many groomers also had superb snow. On the second day, the sun did soften some of the exposed trails but the snow never became slushy. The few scratchy areas that were found were limited to higher wind and traffic areas (sections of Northway, Upper Goats Run and Ullr’s dream) and were easy to avoid.

Jap Peak SkierImage Courtesy of Jay Peak Resort

Jay Peak features three lodges: the State Chalet, Tram / Austria Haus (main base lodge) and the Sky Haus at the top of the tram. The Tram Haus features a large seating area and cafeteria dining. There are also plenty of storage areas and lockers for ski bags and gear. The small deck in front of the lodge is a popular area to enjoy a draft beer on a warm spring day. The Austria Haus houses the International Restaurant (a.k.a. IR) and administrative offices. The IR serves a buffet lunch and is much quieter and less crowded than the cafeteria areas. The State Chalet is a smaller lodge on the left side of the mountain where most of the locals congregate. It also features cafeteria dining. If you would like to take advantage of the shorter tram lines during lunch, the Sky Haus offers a small sit down area with prepackaged food options and drinks.

Overall Ski Enthusiast’s adventure at Jay Peak was incredible and it is highly recommended that you plan a weekend to explore the mountain. With the best terrain in the east, it is guaranteed you will not be disappointed.