Vermont Dopers? I've got questions

Alright, I posted late last night about plans for me and my roommates to go skiing in the March and I’m looking for some insider info from people from Vermont.

The mountain we’re looking at is Jay Peak, very northern edge of Vermont - do you know anything about it? Tourist trap? I’ve heard it isn’t, but want to check.

What kind of snow can we expect in March? We live in Georgia so snow driving isn’t a daily occurrence for us, and we’re trying to guage what to expect.

That’s the two questions on the top of my mind, I’ll see if I come up with anything else.

Sorry, this ended up in MPSIMS out of habit. It may be better in GQ, or just plain elsewhere. My apologies.

For snow conditions, it’s best to check Jay Peak itself.

As for general ski conditions that time of year, they are pretty good but on warm days, corn snow is a regular occurance. Don’t expect much in the way of powder unless you are lucky enough to be there during a heavy snow fall. Expect mostly well groomed trails.

The mountain itself is very well maintained and has a pretty good variety of trails from the most novice to expert. A large proportion of skiers will be from Canada as the border is less than 30 minutes drive from the mountain.

Wow thanks for the quick response! So snow fall is letting up in March?

Snow driving shouldn’t be too bad, unless you’re in a driving snow. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

They’re pretty good about clearing the roads up there, but you’ll be well advised to have good (or new) wiper blades, and plenty of windshield fluid, since, even if you don’t run into a storm, if the roads are wet you’re going to have a lot of crap kicked on your windshield by the cars in front of you.

Snowfalls in March are nothing unusual. In fact, it’s expected.

How much is the only variable.

Having said that, it can also rain. Which sucks and makes things really dodgy when it freezes, both on the roads and the hills.

Jay in March is quite good. The mountain’s strength is the glades and out of bounds skiing. It has the some of the best in New England, and probably the most of any ski area. Don’t go out of bounds unless you know where you’re going. It’s pretty easy to end up way far away from where you want to be. It also boasts the most snow in the east, and a lot of that falls in March.

March will usually have warmer temps than winter (it was -12 MLK weekend) and more consistant snow. Winds are a big problem at Jay, with much of upper mountain lifts on windhold, but that is more a Jan/Feb problem. Still, on a cold, windy day the Green Mountain Flyer (Freezer) is a bone-chilling ride. I rarely use the tram as it’s just too much hassle for only a bit more terrain.

Jay is on the edge of nothing. The day traffic is mainly from locals and Montreal. You’ll find lots of French spoken on the mountain. It’s not much of a resort, just the ski area and a small town.

What other folks have said.

As far as what this March will look like, well, we’ve had a bizarre sort of winter so far, so I’m not going to risk much of a forecast for that far out. I will say that March can be one of the best months to ski here, so that’s good.

Jay is a good mountain, with a lot of draw from Canada (most of the heavy tourism comes from folks from Mass and CT who end up farther south, at Sugarbush or Killington).

If you’re driving up from GA I assume you don’t have snow tires. In that case, you’ll probably be fine, but everything takes more time on snow, and doubly so without snow tires. If there is snowfall or a storm your best bet would be to be very careful. Also, look out for stopping on hills and not being able to move forward from standstill on snowy inclines.

Jay is an excellent mountain, typically has the most snowfall of any Vermont resort, it’s also a very agressive mountain, got a real mean streak, if you like challenging terrain, Jay’s your mountain

other good mountains on the way to Jay;

Killington; good, but overrated, stands on it’s reputation

Sugarbush; good overall mountain, nice balance of runs, family to expert

and my personal favorite…

Mad River Glen, Classic New England skiing, mostly advanced to expert terrain, huge amounts of glades, mostly natural snow (limited snowmaking), one of the last remaining diesel-powered Single chairlifts in the US (it’s the original lift on MRG), a down homey style lodge, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time to a simpler time period, and most importantly…


snowboarding is banned on MRG, mainly because the owner a few years back, was skiing, and got rudely cut off by some snowboarders, so she decided to ban them from the mountain

it’s also the only skier owned mountain in existence, and anyone can buy shares in MRG, you get discounts on lift tickets if you’re an owner, every year, the shareholders vote on wheter to allow snowboarders on the mountain, every year the vote is the same, NO!

Oh, let me also just add, that the google ads have one ad for Okemo Mountain. DO NOT EVER GO HERE (at least not if you’re looking for more than a beginner’s experience)!

It is the most watered down, over-priced mountain I’ve been on. I went there with a friend a few years ago; it was 50-odd dollars for the ticket, and the mountain has a very very limited number of diamond trails. We went up to the top and skiied these ‘dificult’ trails, which were truly no more challenging than a basic intermediate trail anywhere else. And, there were next to no options for ‘diamond’ trails anyway. We skiied the same three diamond trails for a few hours, got really bored, and left.

Is Jay peak going to be too much for 2 people who have never been skiing before?

How long are you up for?

But, basically, no. Every mountain will have plenty of beginner and intermediate trails on which to learn. Jay will be a great place to start.

There’s 4 of us and we’re coming up for a week, planning to get a 4 day lift pass and use it as little or as much as we want. The main thing about this trip is it’s an experience and a road trip, the skiing is just the main “event” but our troupe will have fun if we end up stuck in a snow drift :slight_smile:

I assume you’ll be driving up Interstate 89, it’s the main drag thru VT, one thing you need to be careful of is the stretch of I-89 between Exit 6 (Barre) and 10 (Warren/Stowe), the State of Vermont used some “special” asphalt a few years back (has a reddish color to it) that supposedly wicks water away better than standard asphalt…

problem is, in the winter, it retains water and that water then turns into ice, that one section of 89 is extremely treacherous and can turn into a skating rink without warning

make sure what tires you do have on the car have a decent amount of tread on them, normally i strongly reccomend snow tires, but for a week’s trip it doesn’t make sense to buy snows, especially given the improbability factor of having a blizzard in Georgia…

Jay’s not a great beginer mountain. There is limited green terrain, escpecially if the upper lifts are on wind hold. Keep them Tram side (as opposed to State side) and they can ride the lower quad with a few trips up the Tram or Flyer to see what it’s like up top. They’ll survive since they don’t know any better :wink: but it’s not the best place to learn to ski.

MRG is certainly my favorite place to ski, and the second weekend in March is the NATO Telefest, the most fun 1500 people with free heels can have. But it’s definately not a beginer mountain. The snowboard ban is a little more complicated than that. There were problems with boarders derailing the Single up top because they needed to push off so hard. Add to that an argument between Betsy (the former owner) and some young borders in a lift line and later in town, and the ban was instituted. Since MRG is now a skier owned co-op, and people are happy with the current arrangement, it’s not likely to change. But you can hike up and ride down all you want. :slight_smile:

If you have a day to visit another area try Smuggler’s Notch, about an hour south of Jay. That’ll offer a lot of variety and ammenities.

Think snow!

I-89? Not in the least. I-89 starts at the SE corner of VT, and kinda snakes up to the NW corner. He’d be going out of his way to get on it.

Eh, depends on the route. If he ends up taking 95 North for a large part of the trip, then 89’s the way. If he goes more inland and up through Harrisburg PA, etc, then 89 won’t factor in too much. My guess is, though, particularly in the winter, 95 North up the coast is the best bet.