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AlpineZone Challenge 2012 Results - Steve Wright of Jay Peak

from_the_NEK

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Thanks for the replies Steve.

I'm still not on board with the trail cut around Timbuktu. Although I understand the need for more quality Intermediate terrain at Jay, I really think it will create more bad blood than good feelings. However, 10 years down the road everyone will likely have forgotten about it while they are skiing blower powder in the glades of the West Bowl.


Quick question: have you been privy to any of the development plans for Burke?

If so, am I close? :)

Mid-BurkeHotels-Lodge1.jpg


Mid-BurkeHotels-Lodge2.jpg


BaseLodgeHotel.jpg


Mid_BurkeHotels_photoshop.jpg
 

MadMadWorld

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Did anyone take him up on his response to the disturbing trend question? I am very curious now....

" Obviously resorts are scrambling for ways to get additional spend out of guests with off-trail activities, and they’re trying to contract typical shoulder seasons so they lose less money during those lean periods. Not sure I look at anything as truly disturbing, actually I guess I do, but it’s not appropriate for this forum. Backchannel if you’re really interested."
 

bobbutts

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Killington's web cams are pretty good now, I'd probably copy them. They used to have those ones where visitors can control the camera. I think that's kind of a gimmick. Okemo does a better job of implementing control than Killington did.
 

Steve@jpr

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Yes I have. And I'll give you a C+ on your forecasting....

Thanks for the replies Steve.

I'm still not on board with the trail cut around Timbuktu. Although I understand the need for more quality Intermediate terrain at Jay, I really think it will create more bad blood than good feelings. However, 10 years down the road everyone will likely have forgotten about it while they are skiing blower powder in the glades of the West Bowl.


Quick question: have you been privy to any of the development plans for Burke?

If so, am I close? :)

Mid-BurkeHotels-Lodge1.jpg


Mid-BurkeHotels-Lodge2.jpg


BaseLodgeHotel.jpg


Mid_BurkeHotels_photoshop.jpg
 

from_the_NEK

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Well at least I did't fail :)

I guess I'll have to wait and be surprised.
I kind of feel like my guess at the plans was done with an eye for low impact on streams and existing infrastructure (i.e. fairly cheap). Also with easy access to the lifts and a decent view of the mountain.
I guess the money exists to build pretty much wherever they want.

I'm now thinking the plans are something closer to the snowmaking pond...
 
Last edited:

fbrissette

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Thanks for your time Steve,

West Bowl
Very disappointed. At the homeowner meeting, we were told that Jay the permitting issues were pretty much all cleared up. Your answer tells us that the west bowl is still a long way down the road. Can you give us a better idea of the hurdles that need to be cleared ? Is it a 100% permitting issue or is it also that Jay is too busy with other projects and simply postponing this because of a limited workforce or priority issue ?

Timbuktu trail

With respect to the Timbuktu trail I will add/reiterate a few things:

- 1 acre of new 'in bound' terrain is not equal to 1 acre of out-of-bound terrain. Yes I will trade the 70 acres of the West Bowl for the 6 acres of the Orchard (thanks for not butchering the orchard until we get to see the west bowl), but I would argue that you get more customers because of Jay's out-of-bound terrain and policies (and I think you get that - a nice proof is the full page Jay Peak ad in Backcountry's last issue - a pic taken on Big Jay ...) that you will ever get with that new run. The orchard is the only significant out-of-bound terrain that is easily lappable. After you put the new run in, there will be little interesting terrain left out-of-bound, certainly nothing that would warrant the trouble of skiing to the 242.

- I have not met anyone yet (beside you and Walter Elander) who think that is a good idea. This include the people I ski with (who all ski the Orchard so that is a skewed sample), neighbours (who don't ski this area, but who don't seem to think that you need a new intermediate run) and several other home owners who were vocal about this at the last homeowner meeting. Do you really get feedback from visitors telling you that you need more intermediate terrain ? The entire pod north of the tram line is intermediate terrain (including JFK that is a very soft black diamond). You could sacrifice some unmarked glades in this pod rather than this new run. In addition, the very top of this planned new trail will be just as steep as everything on jet side.

- With the West Bowl, I think you should plan for some out of bound terrain only accessible with minimal walking/skinning up. The market for backcountry is growing (sales of alpine touring gear is booming) and Jay should embrace it. With the Orchard, this additional terrain and the whole Big Jay area, you could really carve yourself a nice niche with the backcountry crowd.

Let me know if you need additional free advice !
 

Steve@jpr

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Thanks for your feedback FB:

At the homeowner meeting we said we were still working on securing all of the permits. At no point did I, or anyone else if my admittedly failing memory serves, say that all of our permits were locked and loaded and away we go. I think I've been pretty forthright in suggesting that the process was difficult and ongoing. I can get you a better idea of what we're chasing and report back though. Sorry if you took it that we were ready to go. We aren't.

I will reiterate my original post. Offering that we have "very little interesting OB terrain" is subjective and we could wring our hands over it all day.

You may just see some of that terrain, as you suggest, earmarked for WB. I would say count on it.

Let me classify that my opinion on this matter is yet to determined and, as opinions should be but seldom are, will be kept to myself. I am but one of the arbiters and a final mandate, as you might say, has not been taken yet. Stay tuned.

We have received some feedback from folks but even a cursory glance at our offerings shows a dearth of that level of trail. And remember, while it can feel like sometimes the resort should be your own private Idaho, we need to consider lots of different levels of guest--including ones that might not be here yet. I know this can feel like a foreign concept when a person has such an intimate connection to the brand, but it's reality. At some level, I certainly care what homeowner's think about trail design (and I've talked to several that I won't name here that think we're right on the money) but, at another very real level, they're only one piece of the demo and that's the reality we're faced with; you want to preserve and protect what you enjoy and we have to concern ourselves with creating a resort that may have appeal past your own particular demo. You might be able to create your own argument that sticking with a singular demo is more profitable. I, on the other hand, can create a pretty strong counter.

Again thanks for the feedback. All good things in all good time.

steve

Thanks for your time Steve,

West Bowl
Very disappointed. At the homeowner meeting, we were told that Jay the permitting issues were pretty much all cleared up. Your answer tells us that the west bowl is still a long way down the road. Can you give us a better idea of the hurdles that need to be cleared ? Is it a 100% permitting issue or is it also that Jay is too busy with other projects and simply postponing this because of a limited workforce or priority issue ?

Timbuktu trail

With respect to the Timbuktu trail I will add/reiterate a few things:

- 1 acre of new 'in bound' terrain is not equal to 1 acre of out-of-bound terrain. Yes I will trade the 70 acres of the West Bowl for the 6 acres of the Orchard (thanks for not butchering the orchard until we get to see the west bowl), but I would argue that you get more customers because of Jay's out-of-bound terrain and policies (and I think you get that - a nice proof is the full page Jay Peak ad in Backcountry's last issue - a pic taken on Big Jay ...) that you will ever get with that new run. The orchard is the only significant out-of-bound terrain that is easily lappable. After you put the new run in, there will be little interesting terrain left out-of-bound, certainly nothing that would warrant the trouble of skiing to the 242.

- I have not met anyone yet (beside you and Walter Elander) who think that is a good idea. This include the people I ski with (who all ski the Orchard so that is a skewed sample), neighbours (who don't ski this area, but who don't seem to think that you need a new intermediate run) and several other home owners who were vocal about this at the last homeowner meeting. Do you really get feedback from visitors telling you that you need more intermediate terrain ? The entire pod north of the tram line is intermediate terrain (including JFK that is a very soft black diamond). You could sacrifice some unmarked glades in this pod rather than this new run. In addition, the very top of this planned new trail will be just as steep as everything on jet side.

- With the West Bowl, I think you should plan for some out of bound terrain only accessible with minimal walking/skinning up. The market for backcountry is growing (sales of alpine touring gear is booming) and Jay should embrace it. With the Orchard, this additional terrain and the whole Big Jay area, you could really carve yourself a nice niche with the backcountry crowd.

Let me know if you need additional free advice !
 

fbrissette

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Thanks again for the quick and thoughtful reply. It certainly makes a lot of sense. It won't stop me from lobbying for my 'own little Idaho' however...
 

riverc0il

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I'll back Steve@jpr up on the fact that Jay is sorely lacking nice intermediate cruising terrain. The cruising terrain they have is often windblown (Goat, Northway, etc.) or requires skiing one of those two crippling trails to get to (Green Mountain Boys, Lower Goat, etc). Also, there is no good cruising terrain off the Jet. Montrealer is a connecting trail, and then you get Northway to Wiggle or some such none-run-sense.

That said, it would have been nice if Jay relied on the West Bowl expansion to provide that intermediate cruising terrain rather than eliminating one of their most beloved off map glades. Steve cites 6 acres of Orchard vs 70 acres of gladed terrain at West. But if we are talking about West, why not talk about the intermediate cruising terrain that will be there instead of the Orchard? I don't buy West Bowl as an alternative to the Orchard except that West isn't happening for a long time and the need for an intermediate trail has to be met now.

The Orchard made me "get" Jay. I've spent countless hours exploring every pitch in that area, and spent quite a few runs cutting back too early only to learn the very hard way. It is a special area and it is a major thing that keeps me coming back to Jay. I've shrugged my shoulders at all the changes Jay has made (not minor either) because the ski experience hasn't been changed. This kinda crosses that line.

I know Jay is lacking in that terrain. I know Jay needs to please the intermediate skier more than the expert skier to stay financially viable. And I know that style of trail is sorely lacking at Jay. Knowing all that, it is still a bitter pill to swallow. But I can understand the reasoning.

Heck, cut down Timbuktu and make that an intermediate cruiser. I won't cry for one less on map glade. Another thought... if Jay builds it will it be skied? Being on the far side of the resort, I wonder how much intermediate cruising traffic that trail will draw, long way to traverse across the mountain for one run.
 

riverc0il

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Regarding the webcam question, I'd just like to point out that JPR does a great (perhaps too great at times *grin*) job updating their FB page with daily photo(s).
 

fbrissette

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I'll back Steve@jpr up on the fact that Jay is sorely lacking nice intermediate cruising terrain. The cruising terrain they have is often windblown (Goat, Northway, etc.) or requires skiing one of those two crippling trails to get to (Green Mountain Boys, Lower Goat, etc). Also, there is no good cruising terrain off the Jet. Montrealer is a connecting trail, and then you get Northway to Wiggle or some such none-run-sense.

That said, it would have been nice if Jay relied on the West Bowl expansion to provide that intermediate cruising terrain rather than eliminating one of their most beloved off map glades. Steve cites 6 acres of Orchard vs 70 acres of gladed terrain at West. But if we are talking about West, why not talk about the intermediate cruising terrain that will be there instead of the Orchard? I don't buy West Bowl as an alternative to the Orchard except that West isn't happening for a long time and the need for an intermediate trail has to be met now.

The Orchard made me "get" Jay. I've spent countless hours exploring every pitch in that area, and spent quite a few runs cutting back too early only to learn the very hard way. It is a special area and it is a major thing that keeps me coming back to Jay. I've shrugged my shoulders at all the changes Jay has made (not minor either) because the ski experience hasn't been changed. This kinda crosses that line.

I know Jay is lacking in that terrain. I know Jay needs to please the intermediate skier more than the expert skier to stay financially viable. And I know that style of trail is sorely lacking at Jay. Knowing all that, it is still a bitter pill to swallow. But I can understand the reasoning.

Heck, cut down Timbuktu and make that an intermediate cruiser. I won't cry for one less on map glade. Another thought... if Jay builds it will it be skied? Being on the far side of the resort, I wonder how much intermediate cruising traffic that trail will draw, long way to traverse across the mountain for one run.

Very eloquently put. Jay was never known as an intermediate mountain and adding one run will not change that. As such, I can't see the benefits of that run outweighing the negatives. But I would venture that Steve knows his target clientele better than I do.

Adding some off-piste opportunites in the West Bowl could be a fair trade-off . I've toured the West Bowl last winter and there is a potential for wicked lines at its north end.
 

BenedictGomez

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Put me down as another person who is anti-Timbuktu monkeying (ski arounds) and other glade destruction. I come to Jay Peak all the way from the NJ/NYC market, and it's not because of a water park. Decreasing glades at Jay just gives skiers a reason to not drive almost to Canada for their hobby.

Yes, I "get" the fact that other skiers may prefer vast stretches of groomed intermediate terrain, but the definition of a market niche is that you stand out superlative above others in a given criteria. For Jay Peak, that criteria is glades skiing. Sounds to me like these changes just make Jay more "like everybody else", despite the marketing and/or planning spin.
 

Steve@jpr

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Thanks for the feedback and noted.

We're not quite talking about vast stretches BG but we'll extend you the poetic, if a little romantic, license. We're talking about enough of a product to make us at least relevant to those skiers and riders who might not have moved through the sport to the level that you, most likely, have. Decreasing glades isn't quite the net. If you think that the addition of several new intermediate runs (and previously noted, after we've added a fair amount of new gladed/advanced terrain) does away with our 'market niche' as you refer to it, well, it isn't something I agree with and we'll leave it to the future to accurately judge on how close we were to right.

Worth noting? It's also been said that there's no way we'd ever fill the new beds we've brought on, an ice rink or, gasp, an indoor waterpark. We're clearly not out of the woods, so to speak, but these forecasts aren't holding as much water anymore. Not to say we'll make the right decisions on everything, we haven't and certainly won't, but through the first several innings of this, I'd say what we're putting on the field is pretty impressive and something we're proud of. Spin notwithstanding of course.

sw



Put me down as another person who is anti-Timbuktu monkeying (ski arounds) and other glade destruction. I come to Jay Peak all the way from the NJ/NYC market, and it's not because of a water park. Decreasing glades at Jay just gives skiers a reason to not drive almost to Canada for their hobby.

Yes, I "get" the fact that other skiers may prefer vast stretches of groomed intermediate terrain, but the definition of a market niche is that you stand out superlative above others in a given criteria. For Jay Peak, that criteria is glades skiing. Sounds to me like these changes just make Jay more "like everybody else", despite the marketing and/or planning spin.
 

dalecaluori

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I would have to agree with BenedictGomez and RiverCoil in saying that the Timbuktu Groomer is a bad idea. First off, intermediates won't care about one trail being added and it certainly won't make the difference in changing Jay's reputation as a place with not very many intermediate trails (which isn't entirely true in my opinion).

Here's what I suggest if it's worth anything:

- Add snowmaking to Derrick Hot Shot and make it a legitimate groomer trail - taking pressure off Haynes
- Add snowmaking to Upper Milk Run and make it a legitimate groomer trail - taking pressure off Northway

You could even consider grooming and snowmaking on UN and Kitzbuehl, that's a better idea than destroying Timbuktu!

Grooming JFK and CanAm everyday as you do and adding snowmaking to Alligator Alley have helped make Jay more intermediate-friendly over the years. I think these steps go a long way.

Jay does groom a lot of trails and they groom well. Yes, the Goat Run can be bad, but every mountain has a disaster spot.

I think part of the problem with Jay with respect to intermediates is that they don't advertise the good grooming that they do. They are quick to say that they have better snow than everyone, but when the snow is low they never say that their grooming is very good also. And now they are about to make a colossal mistake in destroying what's made them so great in order to cater to people who don't even come to the mountain.

Work with what is already there and don't destroy what's made you great! The glades.
 

riverc0il

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I gotta disagree on props to Jay for good grooming. Though it isn't their fault. Even if they groom a trail well, the wind is going to do what the wind is going to do. It ain't just the Goat that is usually awful. Jay just doesn't have a lot of good cruising terrain. And the limited amount that it does is wind prone and receives a LOT of traffic since there are so few options.

JFK and Can Am are not intermediate trails, groomed or not. Same with UN and Kitz. I really like Derick and Milk Run natural. But I'd rather those runs get the guns and groomer treatment than the Orchard.

Just for the record, Timbuktu is not on the chopping block, it is the woods on skiers' right of Timbuktu that are on the chopping block. Though that would effectively change Timbuktu into a glade between trails, that would really change the feel of what is currently a boundary line glade.
 

dalecaluori

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I really like Derick and Milk Run natural. But I'd rather those runs get the guns and groomer treatment than the Orchard.

My point exactly!

Just for the record, Timbuktu is not on the chopping block, it is the woods on skiers' right of Timbuktu that are on the chopping block. Though that would effectively change Timbuktu into a glade between trails, that would really change the feel of what is currently a boundary line glade.

If that really is true, that is really a stupid idea!!!!
 
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