Resort Guide 2018: East #5
Jay deserves to have a cult following just for the poutine at the Tram Haus bar alone. But in fact, Vermont’s northernmost resort earned its hardcore following long before its controversial EB-5 Foreign Investor Act–fueled explosion of slopeside luxury and diversions, which has utterly transformed the place over the past decade.
Long before the high-end hotels and stupendously huge slopeside water park, there was a mountain, a tram, an above-average snowpack, and an unusual policy: If you could see it, you could ski it. That is, the trees weren’t off-limits, as at most resorts back then; if you wanted to ski them—safely and sensibly, of course—no one was going to pull your pass. Real skiers loved it, driving there in droves (and a long drive it remains today) to tear up the glades from Timbuktu to Beyond Beaver Pond and battle the summit headwall. Somehow that vibe endures, despite the masses drawn by Jay’s new amenities. Some long-timers are a little grumpy about the upscale makeover. (“Jay has overdeveloped itself.” “Once a great mountain; now a conglomerate business resort.”) Others suspect the water park helps keep the gapers off the hill. (“It’s still Jay. You go there to ski.”) Bottom line: It’s the trees and top-ranked snow that keeps them coming back. “Best backcountry culture on the East Coast. Great in bounds glades as well as lift-accessed back and side country.” “Seems to get its own weather systems. The Jay Cloud provides!”
Green Beret, skier’s left off Vermonter, might be Jay’s best glade. When the tram’s closed, use Bonaventure and hit Vertigo.
The oldest of the new hotels, the Tram Haus, has charisma that appeals to fans of boutique inns.
Jay’s massive Pump House water park. Yes, it’s a sign of the apocalypse, but it’s an incredibly fun one.
Movies with beer in a 145-seat theater; a new climbing facility; 60 new guest cottages.