Jay Peak's reputation as the snowiest ski resort in the Eastern United States draws powder-seeking skiers from the entire Northeast despite its remote location.
Who says you need to head to the Rockies to find powder? Jay Peak has been the secret of “Ice Coast” powderhounds secret since it’s opening in 1957. Situated at the northern edge of Vermont’s famed Long Trail, and close to the United States border with the Canadian province of Quebec, Jay Peak offers anyone who makes the trek to their slopes a true wilderness experience spread over 385 acres and 78 trails. With something for expert skiers and beginners alike, Jay brings a true resort destination to one of the remote areas of the Northeast.
Situated near the northern terminus of Vermont’s Green Mountains, Jay Peak (affectionately known as “Jay” to those who frequent its slopes) opened in 1957 and never looked back. Now offering year-round activities, the resort is a favorite among locals in its remote Northern Frontier region of Vermont, as well as with skiers from nearby Quebec who cross the border to get their turns. With a laid back attitude and frequent harsh winter conditions, Jay lies too far from the hubbub of the big cities to the south, and locals couldn’t enjoy their short lift lines more.
With an average annual snowfall of 370 inches, Jay receives the most snowfall of any East Coast ski resort. As the first mountain winter storms hit when crossing the plains of Ontario, the resort is truly geographically blessed and typically receives significantly more snow than other Vermont ski areas every time a storm crosses the state. Skiers beware, however, with the abundant snowfall comes extreme cold and high winds, known locally as the “Montreal Express.” It is not uncommon for the summit to dip into the double-digits below zero during the throes of winter. Still, the storms that linger for days, known as the “Jay Cloud,” often deposit a plethora of a commodity not typically found in the old growth Eastern US forests: powder snow.
While Jay remains an eastern mecca for powder skiing, especially for tree skiers, the resort truly brings something to the table for everyone. Recent expansions have the resort well positioned for years of success, despite its remote location. With Vermont’s only indoor waterpark, an ice-skating rink, and miles of summer hiking trails, many families head to Jay and to enjoy the numerous off-slope activities never hit the slopes at all. Also noteworthy, due to the resort’s high amount of average snowfall, Jay is normally open far later than other resorts on the East Coast, and brings excellent corn snow skiing well into the spring months.
Jay Peak Pros and Cons
+ Typically highest average annual snowfall east of the Rockies
+ Tree skiing paradise with easy backcountry access
+ Relatively inexpensive lift tickets
+ Laid-back atmosphere and lack of crowds
- Remote Area make resort difficult to get to
- Limited Aprés Ski options
Updated for Winter 2015-2016 – Roger Tufts