The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

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Z Z
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The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

I intended to do a TR for our weekend at Jay Peak but what is going on there needed a more editorial approach.  I defended Jay only about a month ago from Snoloco’s comments that it was not worth the drive or money.  Well from the mouth of babes – he was correct.

We have gone to Jay for a long weekend for the last 4 years after my sons race season ended.  We have experienced everything from the expected spring skiing to winter and even a day of summer skiing in 70 degree temps last spring.  It’s a crap shoot there this time of the year.  Today was full on winter with temps at the summit in the low teens.

What I really need to get a discussion going about is has Jay Peak lost its way.  To me 5 years ago this was one of the Holy Lands of Eastern skiing.  The best snow in the east coupled with great trees and a vibe that was hard core and all about nothing but the skiing.  Unfortunately after this trip I just don’t feel that way about Jay any longer.  Today its much more like ASC circa 2000 than Jay Peak from 5 years ago.  Skiing is no longer THE important part of their equation and the product they are putting on the hill is showing this.  The Old Jay was the best run mountain in the east.  Now it’s a lodging company that oh by the way also has some skiing.

The place is mobbed and the quality of skier is very low.  The Waterpark has fundamentally changed this place and not for the better.  My son dubbed it the GS ratio – Gaper to Skier ratio which is now overwhelmingly tipped toward the G and not the S.

They have spent what about $50 million and yet I can’t see that they have spent a dime on the skiing infrastructure besides moving the Bonnie chair to make room for the new hotel.  One of the problems is that they are now attracting a very low end skiing customer base and they have all these key fixed grip lifts that can’t run at full speed and still load low end skiers.  The Bonnie should have been upgraded when they moved it to a HSQ.  The lift lines were worse than any I have experienced all season including presidents week and the lifts constantly stopped and started.  They need to spend on new lifts before they build a single additional condo unit.  

On Friday it was in the 50’s then it rained and finally changed to snow.  By 9 am when the lifts open it was 20 degrees at the bottom and in the teens at the summit and dropping fast.  Well we thought it would be a firm snow day but should be ok.  Jay for some reason only groomed 3 trails on the entire mountain and they did that the night before.  It was a shit show of nearly inconceivable incompetence.  You have your entire bed based booked with thousands of low end skiers and you don’t even groom your green trails?  Are you kidding me?  Combine that with 20 minute lift lines because they were only loading the flyer every other chair and it was by far the worst skiing day I’ve ever paid for.  We managed to find a few decent trees to ski on the northern aspects that didn’t get baked but the whole thing was a total joke.  When I asked them they claimed it was too warn to groom until the morning and by then they had sent their grooming staff home.  It would have been better to delay the opening and put a decent and safe product on the hill  than what they tried to pull off.

My take is that their attitude is its really not about the skiing because if that is bad people will just go have fun in water park which by mid-day I’m sure was mobbed.  This was a true skiers mountain but now that does not really seem to matter to their management.  On Sunday their ski report clearly was trying to make up for the horrid conditions on Saturday by claiming that they groomed everything that was physically possible.  Their groomers must be not likely all that good or all that many because the grooming quality Sunday was poor at best and not everything that needed to be groomed was.  It’s made me realize how good Whiteface’s grooming has become in comparison.

Jay Peak needs to stop Raising lodging units and start focusing back on the on hill product.  I will not likely be returning until I see that happen.  They have lost their way.  Time to spend some of the EB5 loot on the skiing.  Jay please come back.
if You French Fry when you should Pizza you are going to have a bad time
snoloco snoloco
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

They are serving the "rich people that can't ski well" market, just like Okemo and Park City.
I've lived in New York my entire life.
ml242 ml242
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

In reply to this post by Z
grooming in the spring is a very tricky proposition, and judging a mountain on the bookend of the season is not a fair task.

how were the other days?

As far as the old jay goes, it was certainly on the other end of the spectrum. great for a few skiers but maybe not profitable enough to make a go of it long term in the same way a lot of other hard core areas have been rounded out as well.

one thing I'd add is that if they can open up the new blue terrain, that may ease the burden you saw a bit on the other lifts.

i'm a big fan of the new jay though, i like that when i get there i can leave the car parked... i'm there to ski the terrain silly, and the also the vibe. Being able to hit the bar or chill with friends and only have to worry about getting up early the next day is awesome. it's the closest thing to an actual resort that i'd ever want to go to precisely because the skiing ratio with that terrain and snow hits the sweet spot for me.
ml242 ml242
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

In reply to this post by snoloco
snoloco wrote
They are serving the "rich people that can't ski well" market, just like Okemo and Park City.
blatantly wrong.
Sick Bird Rider Sick Bird Rider
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

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Jeebus, Coach, that is quite a rant. Did you send an email to Jay Peak management? What was their response?

FYI, many of these issues have been discussed elsewhere ad nauseam (check AZ for the Jay Peak Development Thread and Jay Peak Bombshell thread).

It is not my job to defend JPR but I will point out that the EB5 money can't be used for lift development because there is no direct job creation. As in, build a new lift, you can hire the same lifties back next season. No new jobs. EB5 is all about job creation. So, build a hotel (or three), a bunch of condos and a waterpark, hope you make more money so you can build some new lifts. That is pretty much where they are at right now.

I am sorry that you had a bad experience but it won't stop me from returning to a mountain I know and love. Gotta love the new washrooms.
Love Jay Peak? Hate Jay Peak? You might enjoy this: The Real Jay Peak Snow Report
Sick Bird Rider Sick Bird Rider
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

In reply to this post by snoloco
snoloco wrote
They are serving the "rich people that can't ski well" market, just like Okemo and Park City.
And you are basing this sweeping generalization on what evidence?

My version of your statement would be this: they are serving the "middle-income families that are looking for an affordable ski vacation with options" market. Keeners like ML and myself are a bonus.
Love Jay Peak? Hate Jay Peak? You might enjoy this: The Real Jay Peak Snow Report
Z Z
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

In reply to this post by ml242
The skiing on Friday was ok

50 degrees and the southern aspects were toast by 10 am

The Northern aspects in the woods were quite good

The lifts lines were crazy and the lifts kept stopping.  The water park clientele can't load on and off fixed grip lifts.  The decline started when they built that dam water park.

Jays lay out is not ideal for spring with all the lifts starting at the bottom.  The flats were super sticky.
if You French Fry when you should Pizza you are going to have a bad time
Sick Bird Rider Sick Bird Rider
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

Coach, did you notice a lot a British accents? They do get a lot of school groups from Britain at this time of year. Strange but true. And they are not good skiers. It has nothing to do with the waterpark.

I think you need to take a trip down the Lazy River and chill out.
Love Jay Peak? Hate Jay Peak? You might enjoy this: The Real Jay Peak Snow Report
Z Z
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

In reply to this post by Sick Bird Rider
They have to be making money by the wheel barrow full based on these occupancy rates.  Time to invest in the mountain to up the capacity to support that huge bed base.

Sorry fir the rant but they turned one of the best true ski experiences in the East into crap and I'm pissed.  Not grooming yesterday was a profit driven decision pure and simple.

WF also gets tons of Brits.  You can tell them because they all are with instructors.  The waterpark gapers are all families.  I disagree with Sno they are not all rich.  I'd guess Sno dad makes more than these families.  It's cheaper to take the kiddies to Jay than Disney.  They are not poor either.
if You French Fry when you should Pizza you are going to have a bad time
ml242 ml242
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Re: The Raising and decline of Jay Peak

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Coach Z wrote
Jays lay out is not ideal for spring with all the lifts starting at the bottom.  The flats were super sticky.
I dunno, that seems like an unfair thing to pick on in April. Or maybe a little Zardoz in between runs would have made the difference. should they just close earlier to prevent people from having a bad ski experience with 5 feet of base at the top?
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