Jay Peak — Mountain layout
Since trails and glades are spread across two mountain peaks, there are two “sides” to the resort. Tramside is where you’ll find, obviously, the Tram, plus Hotel Jay, the main base lodge, customer service, and the rental shop. Stateside is home to another base lodge, ski patrol headquarters, and the “blue” and “red” chairs serving the left side of the mountain.
The biggest drawback to Jay’s layout is that there are only three ways to work your way between the two peaks—Northway, Goat Run and Vermonter. These can get crowded, and the snow gets skied off, so stay alert, especially later in the day. Locals refer to the Green Mountain Flyer chair as the Green Mountain Freezer: you’ll understand once you crest the ridge and get a full blast of the wind off the lake. It’s best to avoid this lift if you’re prone to getting cold quickly. Here’s a detailed trail map.
|Expert, Advanced: Experts who have never been here may very well quake in their boots when they see what Jay considers single-diamond terrain. The Face, The Saddle and Tuckermans Chutes are rock-and-tree-stub strewn, forcing you to pick your way over some gnarly stuff to get to the goods. All this in full view of the folks riding up the Tram.
However, the real challenge is in the woods. Warm up in Hell’s Woods, Buckaroo Bonzai, Everglade and Beaver Pond Glade, then head to Timbuktu and Valhalla. Locals groaned loudly when Jay officially opened Beyond Beaver Pond Glade because it was just about the only piece of “unofficial woods” left on the mountain, but it remains pretty much untouched since you have to hike a bit to get there.
Kitzbuehl is a tight bumped run that’ll leave you huffing and puffing. River Quai and Green Beret (when it’s open) are both truly hairy trails. The monster moguls and double fall line on Powerline will give you a run for your money.
Advanced skiers ready to push themselves will want to take a glade technique lesson and head into the woods. You can always try out the “kiddie” glades–Kokomo, Moon Walk and Bushwacker.
Jay also has vast amounts (by Eastern standards) of backcountry terrain. But don’t venture here alone or without a guide who knows the area well.
|Intermediate: Jay is a great place for intermediates who are comfortable with their ability and are seeking a challenge. Most intermediate trails here would be rated for advanced skiers elsewhere. To test your ability in the trees, slip into Kokomo, Moon Walk or Bushwacker.
Warm up on Ullr’s Dream (slip into the trees of Kokomo if you want to avoid the long flat at the end) or Northway to Angel’s Wiggle.
To take in the amazing 360-degree views from the top to Mt. Mansfield, Quebec’s Eastern Townships, Lake Champlain, Mt. Washington and Montreal, ride up the tram and head down Vermonter. Goat Run is another fun trail, but the top gets icy and moguled on heavy-traffic days.
Most advanced-intermediates will enjoy the groomed black-diamond trails off the Jet Triple Chair, once you make it past the somewhat-steep top sections. A favorite is Derick Hot Shot, a narrow winding trail that gets moderate bumps on high-traffic days. If you’re looking to make sweeping arcs, head to wide-open Jet and Haynes.
If you get to the top of the Jet and decide the terrain looks too steep, take Montrealer to Angel’s Wiggle, then take the Wiggle all the way down or choose from some wonderful intermediate terrain like Lower Milk Run, Paradise Meadows and Hell’s Crossing.
|Beginner, First-timer: All of the beginner terrain is at the bottom of the mountain. A quad chair replaced the Metro T-bar, completely transforming the beginner experience. All the beginner trails are now connected, making it easier to move around the mountain.
A fabulous beginner run that doesn’t get much traffic is Deer Run, a short traverse across the mountain to the right as you get off the lift. It’s also fun to cut over to Queen’s Highway.
Bushwacker and Moon Walk Woods are great easy glades, with Moon Walk being open enough to groom. Or try Racoon Run, which accesses the newer condos and has its own chair.
Higher-level skiers and riders use some of the beginner trails to reach the Tram and Green Mountain Flyer, so keep an eye out for them.
If you’re adventurous and want to try the intermediate terrain at the top of the mountain, it’s wise to return to the base by mid-afternoon, before the snow on the major trails is skied off.
There is a dedicated learning center with a moving carpet at the base of Tramside, giving first-timers their very own piece of the mountain.