An overperforming storm combined with New Year’s Day hangovers and holiday crowds heading home to make for an epic first day of the New Year. Despite the forecast only calling for about four inches, the Jay Cloud delivered a solid foot with deeper drifts. While I was going to bed early and setting my alarm for 5:15am, a lot of other skiers were partying late and planning to sleep in. The vacationing holiday crowds were leaving early and who knows where the powder hounds were.
I went right at it with boot deep untracked down Can Am and then onto the Jet where I found more untracked boot deep in the trees for my second and third runs. Top to bottom boot deep untracked on a third run during a holiday weekend is something else. Despite knowing the reasons, I still couldn’t help but wonder how it was possible, how was this happening?
The Freezer made its season debut today which also means today was the first day of lift service for the upper mountain on the tramside. Quite a crowd gathered at the Freezer for its opening. Eight inches of dense snow fell on top of a semi-crusty base. The snow from the previous storms had consolidated due to some moderating temperatures followed by another deep freeze. The result was a very nice powder day but not quite the epic opening that many skiers had expected.
Things got tracked out extremely fast since all the powder hounds were lapping the Freezer. I took that bait as well hitting JFK for a frenzied opening run followed by three runs through off map woods. But even the off map woods were being hammered. So I decided to go explore leftovers on Stateside via the Jet.
This was a smart move as the Jet had no line and no powder hounds. The Jet was open the day before when the snow started falling, so it should not have had the full 48 hour bounty of untracked snow. But sure enough, I made use of my knowledge of the mountain to find some startlingly good pockets of untouched snow. When everyone else zigs, you zag.
Despite Jay having ample snow to open 100% of its terrain, only the Jet spun today due to a variety of lift related issues. The tram had a cable issue and was undergoing repairs which took the Bonnie out of commission due to the overhanging cable. Adding insult to injury, the Freezer was awaiting an inspection before making its debut. Many people complained but they were looking a gift horse in the mouth. Today was not a day to complain that the lifts were down but rather to rejoice that only the Jet was spinning.
Early season powder days at Jay when only the Jet Triple is running are often some of my best days at Jay. Today was no exception. Take the lift, hike, boot deep, and repeat.
It was still snowing when I left Jay Peak yesterday and temperatures were forecasted to remain below freezing. So I had no reason to suspect conditions would deteriorate overnight. But I quickly discovered during my skin up Goat that the snow had been wind blasted into a crust. The snow was oreo cookie like: crust on dust on crust.
My plan was to ascend Goat and evaluate options including some combination of Poma Line, Upper Ullr’s, or JFK using Weddlemaster as a skin track back to Alligator Alley with a final descent down Green Mountain Boys (which had treated me well the day before). But the crusty snow only got worse the higher I went.