Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why we keep coming back to Jay Peak...

Yeah, yeah, the post title is smarmy. But when Steve Wright puts something like this up on the rarely used official Jay Peak Weblog, you have to say "right on!"

The piece starts out with a blah, blah, blah about current snowmaking locations but the heart of it is here:
Part of me wants to say that the decision to make snow was a well thought out, strategic plan because it makes us sound smarter than we actually are but, as with many things up here, it was pretty knee jerk. Snow wise, the season has pretty much sucked but, in all honesty, we’ve made enough money so that making a few bad decisions this late in the season won’t shutter our doors. Really, when this boils, it’s a nod to our season pass holders- the ones we have now and, sure, the ones we may pick up as a result of holding our brand to the fire. When you commit an entire season to one business—not just your cash but, more importantly your time, making some snow and staying open a few extra weeks as acknowledgment isn’t exactly an act of heroism on our part; based on who we are and how we’ve positioned ourselves, we’d be stupid not to. Still, there’s something about everyone here being excited to do it, that makes me proud to work here.
Click here for the entire post:

Which, by the way includes a low-key pitch to sign up for the early season deal on a season pass. Which, by the way, are about 12% more than last year. But still a lot less than many other eastern resorts.  I bought a pass this season and am afraid to do the math. Oh, well, I guess that's the price we pay for being raised Jay. Now we are committed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Alice's Table: a second look in Year Two

A restaurant's opening blush can be like the first outing of a debutante. A new restaurant often sparkles, glitters and soars in the early going. But then like a date in the harsh light of the new dawn, really not the same magic!

But not at Alice's Table. On our recent visit, the hostess and the waiters were cheery, vigilant and helpful. Perhaps they may need a little polishing to serve at a Michelin three star restaurant but to a server, most accommodating and not annoyingly in the way of your conversation.

Often by a restaurants' second year the tables are not cleaned properly, and some crockery, cutlery and glassware show the stress of gracing table after table of ravenous eaters. Not so with Alice's Table: everything is still spick and shiny.

The menu stresses good clean rib sticking food like burgers and wraps and with nice starters. This trip we chose Mexican Quesadillas with savory shaved beef, plenty of cheese, sour cream and salsa and lots of jalapenos. Piping hot and just a great snack.  The perfectly spiced Bloody Mary and peppery Bloody Caesar paired perfectly and sang so loudly you thought you could hear the cries from a Mexican Bull Ring.

Speaking of that, the bill rang in at less then $40 including tip.  No gouging at Alice's Table!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A quick update from those "on the ground"

This just in from Monkey Centre:
Well, Dear Report, yesterday the heavens opened and bucketed rain on little Montgomery nestled below mighty Jay. The winds howled and snarled all night but somewhere near 4 AM the Snow Gods triumphed over the evil Rain Goblins. In the village 2" of new powder covered the layer of rain mixed with ice slush. Yea! Yea!

Meanwhile at mighty Jay the rain slush turned much sooner to lush snow and when we arrived there was 3-4" of new snow and even more depending where you looked. The centres of most trails were wiped clean pretty soon but when we left at 2 the edges still harboured stashes yet untracked.

Kissed by the sun on and off, a temperature around 25, all in all a Joyous Jay Day was had by Linski and Dogski!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

NSBS 2.0, Day Four: Getting the lion's share at Cannon

Despite his camoflage jacket, Matt still looks good working the edges
This firm once existed, I'd have you to know,
Messrs Lion, Wolf, Tiger, Fox, Leopard & Co;
These in business were join'd, and of course 'twas implied,
They their stocks should unite, and the profits divide
Jefferys Taylor
"The Beasts in Partnership"
By Day Four of the NSBS, we were ski beasts in partnership, seeking to unite our stock of knowledge and skill and divide the profits. When March came in like a lion at Cannon on Thursday, the last ski day for the NSBS bloggers, the profits were plenty: a thin winter was completely transformed by fresh snow. Snow that kept falling all day, making conditions better and better as we skied. As the liftie at the the Cannonball Quad opined as we boarded, "it's cool to see the big sticks come out."
Steve cruises the bumps of Upper Hardscrabble
As much as I enjoyed our days at Attitash and Wildcat, I felt instantly at home at Cannon. Maybe it was the weather: windy, snowy, blustery, the kind of day that made you tuck your chin into your collar and hold a glove over your face on the lift. It was a Jay Peak kind of day and the mountain measured up to it; big, brawny and hard to see in the gloom of blowing snow. There was a crowd of skiers on big skis, ready for some kind of snow event. We had the advantage of local knowledge. One of our own crew was a Cannon regular and Steve's intimate knowledge of the mountain and its moods paid off in spades. We skied the drifts on one side of Vista Way and beautiful natural snow bumps on Upper Hardscrabble. He advised us to hold off on the hike to Mittersill until after lunch, when there would be more snow. We worked the sides of runs, milking the new snow and finding the fresh patches. It was a powder day for the creative and Cannon delivered the terrain. With flowing cruisers like Vista Way, steep natural snow challenges like Upper Hardscrabble, tight glades like Global Warming and the "sidecountry" of Mittersill offering something for anyone with a sense of adventure, Cannon is a true skier's mountain.
Matt skis hot in Global Warming Glade
Don't ask me which mountain I liked the best on the NSBS 2.0 tour. Each was fantastic and in a serendipitous way, the day was perfectly appropriate for each destination. Attitash had the fresh snow on perfectly groomed cord; Wildcat had the clear view, fast cruising and crazy trees; then Cannon finished it up with a blast of winter, a little powder and some very interesting terrain. The ski history of the Mt. Washington valley added a nice flavour and New England hospitality kept the ball rolling.

Thanks, New Hampshire, I had a great week, my ski universe has been expanded and I definitely want to come back for more.

The ridge hike to Mittersill
Cannon Mountain from Mittersill
See you next time, Cannon