Jay Peak, Vermont

New England States, NY and anyplace else east of the Mississippi

Moderator: Moderator Group

LewLasher
World Cup
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:23 pm
Location: Stowe, Vermont

Jay Peak, Vermont

Postby LewLasher » Wed Mar 21, 2018 5:52 am

Yesterday, I skied, for the first time, at the Jay Peak Nordic Center in northern Vermont. Or, I could say, northernmost Vermont, as Jay Peak is about 4 miles from the border with Canada/Québec. Jay Peak is primarily known as an alpine resort, but, as the resort has upgraded its facilities (including a couple of new hotels, a golf course, and an indoor water park), they also threw in an improved cross-country area.

Technically, this was not the first time I skied at Jay Peak. In 1988, before the upgrade, I ended up at Jay Peak on a weekend ski trip when it rained everywhere else in Vermont but Jay Peak. This is not too surprising, given that Jay Peak is known for its snowy microclimate that consistently yields the highest snow statistics in the state. Unfortunately, however, during my 1988 visit, they neglected to groom the foot or two of fresh snow, so I did not spend a lot of time on the cross-country ski trails. At the time, your XC trail pass also gave you access to the alpine T-bars, so I played there for a couple of hours until I longed for some uphill skiing. (This is no longer available, if for no other reason than that the T-bars have been upgraded to chairlifts.)

I'm happy to report that they are now grooming the trails. And, even though the trail network is relatively small - just over 20 km - the trails are well-designed, and - I can't think of a better way to say this - a lot of fun. One intermediate-rated trail had, in less than one kilometer, more S-curves than "Mississippi" (the name, that is, not the actual river). As is often the case at cross-country trail networks adjacent to alpine ski areas, the hilly terrain (elevation from 540 to 710 meters, 1770-2330') does not include very much beginner terrain (although Jay Peak has a few beginner trails on the golf course), but it is well-suited for non-beginner skiers. There is one XC trail that takes you to the lower section of an alpine trail, so, even after the demise of the T-bars, you still have the opportunity to be able to say that you have skied on an alpine trail.

They have a good trail map (contour lines and trail distances) and good signage. (Although: one quirk of the trail signage is that they only have signs in one direction, so the trail that goes backwards from the trail sign is indicated by a down-arrow. This took me a while to puzzle out.) The modest "touring center" occupies a small room in the basement of the golf clubhouse, but at least the restrooms are of golf-clubhouse calibre (although not quite at the level of those at the Woodstock XC/golf facility).

Jay Peak is not particularly convenient to get to - unless you happen to live in Montréal, where a significant proportion of the alpine clientele originates. It is significantly less convenient than, for example, Craftsbury. For another example, it is about an hour's drive from Stowe. Nonetheless, if you happen to be in Vermont, and you have some extra time in which to seek varied terrain, or if it is raining and you are desperate to find snow, it's worth the trip.

Pat
xcskiforum 20K
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:37 am

Re: Jay Peak, Vermont

Postby Pat » Mon Mar 26, 2018 10:35 am

Lew -- Is there one particular Nordic Center in Vermont that you would recommend to plan a ski vacation around? I usually take a trip once a year to ski other than where I live. Usually I go to the Tug Hill Plateau are in New York because they get a lot of great snow off of Lake Ontario. So if you were thinking about a once a year trip to Vermont, is there any particular center or area that you think are sort of sure bets? Thanks and I enjoy your trip reports.

Pat

LewLasher
World Cup
Posts: 630
Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:23 pm
Location: Stowe, Vermont

Re: Jay Peak, Vermont

Postby LewLasher » Mon Mar 26, 2018 2:54 pm

Pat wrote:Lew -- Is there one particular Nordic Center in Vermont that you would recommend to plan a ski vacation around?

Yes: Craftsbury.

The caveats being that (1) there are few lodging or dining choices in or near Craftsbury, and (2) there isn't a lot to do there other than the skiing. But, just on the basis of skiing, Craftsbury is the clear choice, for the quantity, quality, and diversity of skiing.

As you know, there are no sure things in weather, and cross-country skiing is the most weather-dependent activity there is. But, in Vermont, Craftsbury and Stowe are pretty good bets for having something to ski on. And it's only about 45 minutes between Craftsbury and Stowe. (And if the weather really looks bad, Jay Peak is available as a day trip.)

You do pay a premium for ski-in/out lodging, but that is a nice feature at Craftsbury. If you are only one or two people, you would probably end up in a simple room with a shared bathroom down the hall. The on-premises lodging includes 3 meals a day in the on-campus dining hall, which is decent food if you are amenable to buffet food and eating with strangers (i.e., other skiers).

Stowe has hillier terrain and lots of choices of lodging and food, some of which are significantly less expensive than what you would spend in Craftsbury. The only ski-in/out lodging option, I think, is the Trapp Family Lodge, which is more expensive than Craftsbury.

Both Craftsbury and Stowe have backcountry skiing nearby, Stowe somewhat more so. And Stowe, of course, also has alpine skiing (and, if you get your nordic ticket at the "Mansfield"/Stowe Mt. Resort, you can ride a chairlift with your cross-country skis).

Pat
xcskiforum 20K
Posts: 95
Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:37 am

Re: Jay Peak, Vermont

Postby Pat » Tue Mar 27, 2018 9:55 am

Thanks Lew -- certainly appreciate the scoop.

Pat


Return to “NorthEast”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests