Skiing in Jay Peak

Jay Peak Ski Area

Jay Peak is famous for powder snow, short liftlines and top notch expert skiing.

The resort base is divided into two main areas: Stateside, and Tramside. Tramside is typically the busier area, with a number of restaurants, a large hotel, and the waterpark, as well as Jay’s 60-person aerial tram—the only one of its kind in the state. Also located at this side is the Green Mountain Flyer quad chair, affectionately called the “Green Mountain Freezer” by locals due to its typically chilly and windy ride.

Stateside offers a more classic ski area feel, and many skiers choose to lap the Jet Triple chair and Bonaventure Quad all season long and avoid the more crowded Stateside Base altogether.

Jay is not a particularly large resort (even by East Coast standards). Most visitors have little difficulty mastering the trail layout in a single day. That said, Jay is the type of resort that has so many nooks and crannies that a full season might not be enough to find all of them, particularly if venturing into the resort’s famous glades.

Jay Peak Beginners

Jay Peak’s green trails offer a springboard for beginners to improve skills and progress to ski more of the mountain’s legendary terrain.

While green-rated trails only comprise 20% of Jay’s mountain terrain, the lower mountain does give beginners an opportunity to spread their wings and grow their skills. Jay even offers a lower-mountain only lift ticket at a significant discount for those who know their skills aren’t quite ready to tackle Jay’s steeper upper-mountain runs.

On Stateside, runs off of the Taxi Quad will give beginners a few options. The nearby Village Double lift also offers a beginner area that is fairly cut-off from the rest of the resort, so beginners won’t have to contend with the fear of expert skiers whizzing by them at uncomfortable speeds. On Tramside, the Metro Quad offers a few beginner runs, as well as access to the Terrain Park, so be sure to choose your run before wandering into an area that puts you out of your comfort zone.

One interesting pod of green terrain is found near the Tramside base for beginners and intermediates are three blue-rated runs named Quarter Moon, Half Moon, and Full Moon. These three runs are rated intermediate, however they offer a three-step introduction for beginners and intermediates to tree skiing. The runs get progressively more difficult from Quarter to Full, but each lasts a short time and can be exhilarating for those not used to skiing through the trees. It is quite fitting to find such an area at Jay Peak, as the resort is known for its top-notch tree skiing.

Jay Peak Intermediate Skiing

Intermediates will find an abundance of fun, blue trails spread across most of Jay Peak’s 385 acres.

Each of the resorts main upper-mountain lifts offer at least one long groomed run all the way back to the base. The resort really shines with its expert trail offerings, but it does offer numerous trails that are black diamond-rated that intermediates would feel comfortable on and may be able to progress their skills.

Intermediates can enjoy runs off the summit by taking the aerial tram. To the skier’s right, Vermonter gives skiers great views of the surrounding wilderness, and deposits skiers back into the middle of the resort. To the skier’s left, Ullr’s Dream brings skiers around the boundary of the resort down to a number of flatter runs back to the Tramside base. Many of the runs off of Ullr’s Dream can provide a fun day, but the long traverse back to the bottom can prove repetitive and dull after a while.

Over at the Stateside, Montrealer to the skier’s left brings intermediates down a long groomer back to the middle of the resort, where they are greeted with a number of options to get back to the base, including Northway and Angel’s Wiggle. Jay also has cut a few intermediate glades for skiers who want to try their luck in the trees. The best of these are Bushwacker and Stateside Glade.

Jay Peak Expert Skiing

For the advanced tree skier, there is no better place to find perfectly spaced and pitched runs on the East Coast than Jay Peak.

Jay’s famed strong winds often blow the abundant snowfall off the trails and deposits powder stashes amongst the maples and pines in the woods. To the skiers’ right of the resort, runs such as Timbuktu and Kitz’s Woods offer fantastic sustained top-to-bottom steep tree skiing. On the opposite side of the resort lie other great runs such as Bear Pond Glades and André’s Paradise. In between, skinny trails such as Staircase Glade and Deliverance offer some of the truer tests on the mountain.

For those looking for a short-but-sweet big mountain experience, board the tram to Jay’s summit. A short hike brings daring skiers to the top of the saddle amidst rime and ice-covered vegetation. Bring your A-game here, however, as any run down the extremely exposed saddle will be under the watchful eye of those riding the tram. Directly under the tram are the Face Chutes. Each of these are often covered in the East Coast’s finest conditions (read: dust on crust), but occasionally offer a short but sturdy test of your meddle, especially during the spring months.

Other, more traditional advanced runs may be found off further down the mountain off the tram, or off of the Jet Triple on the Stateside part of the resort. Valhalla and Green Beret are favorites off the tram, while bump runs such as U.N. and Haynes alongside the steep groomer The Jet will keep advanced skiers busy off the triple. If cliff skiing is your true desire, be sure to make your way to Upper Can Am and Upper River Quai off the Bonaventure Quad and air it out.

Jay Peak Glades & Backcountry 

Due to a relaxed boundary policy and proximity to well-established backcountry terrain, Jay Peak is held with high esteem amongst East Coast backcountry skiers.

While most locals won’t tell you where to find some of the best off-piste tree skiing in the country, many would be happy to show you in exchange for your company and a beer. As they say, “Ask and you shall receive.” For fear of losing favor amongst some of the locals, I’ll keep some of the named favorites to myself. However, it won’t take much searching and friendly questioning to find some of Jay’s excellent lift-accessed side-country runs.

Big Jay, situated just to the southwest of the Tram summit, is Vermont’s tallest peak without an established base-to-summit hiking trail. Big Jay can be accessed by traversing off the back of Jay Peak Resort through an established backcountry gate, followed by a 1-2 hour hike depending on conditions. Be sure you are well aware of your surroundings, however, because a wrong turn off this peak could leave you miles away from help in one of the more remote areas of the country. Ski your way back to the access road, and a passerby will be happy to give you a lift back to the base.

Many of Jay’s best tree runs can be found in between established trails. The resort has a well-known relaxed policy in this regard, and there are often fresh tracks to be found long after a storm if you know where you look for it. Exercise caution, however, as some of Jay’s tree runs are quite narrow. It’s always best to venture into the woods with someone familiar with the terrain.

Jay Peak Mountain Restaurants

Jay Peak offers a number of restaurants in its base area that skiers are welcome inside, but few true on-mountain eateries.

The Tramhouse at the resort’s summit is home to the Sky Haus Deli, which makes a great warming spot on the coldest of days in Northern Vermont. Unfortunately, the Sky Haus Deli is frequently closed, so check resort information if you plan on making a food-related pit stop after your ride up the tram. If it is open, however, you will be treated to an excellent sandwich at nearly 4,000ft of elevation and unobstructed views in all directions well into the Canadian province of Quebec.


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