The Blue Ridge Ski Council and Banchi Outdoor Adventures, owned by Joe Ferrara, put together this four-day adventure to what the Vermonters call the Northeast Kingdom. Tom Crockett was our trip captain. Nineteen club members attended, and there were about eighty participants from several different mid-Atlantic ski clubs. It took most of us 14 hours to get there. Some by driving with an overnight stop, and others braving the marathon bus drive or a cozy endurance car ride with your favorite people for company.
When we arrived on Sunday, Jay Peak was about 50 degrees warm and the parking lot could have served the spa as a mud bath. And drat the luck, our ski week fell between major snowfalls, with 36 inches falling the week before, and 22 inches that fell the day after we left. While we were there: meltdown, rain, blizzard, wind holds, broken chairlifts, subzero temperatures, and plenty of thin cover. But, finally, two days of what we skiers and boarders live for.
Monday: The Rain Day
Persistent precipitation presents problems to ski pants! We were all excited to be on the snow after our extended drive, and most of us took the morning ski tour done by a lone Jay Peak instructor and his buddy. The Tram and two other lifts were not working, which limited our terrain choices, and was also limited by the meltdown: many trails were roped off. By lunch, the consistent drizzle dampened everyone’s enthusiasm–and our ski apparel. The rain and warmish temperatures washed out a lot of coverage so we were left with rocks, solid ice floes, and mud on the groomers. Oh yeah, and sometimes it was hard to see where you were going. By early afternoon, many of us put up our skis and boards for the day.
That night, there was a BRSC gathering for an apres ski event with chips, dips, wine, beer, cheese, and a few prizes given out. No one in our club won the ugly skis or the useful ski rack. Figures.
Tuesday: The Blizzard Day
This picture of Kay and Terry taken right before they got on the slopes does not do justice to the wind and sub-zero cold that prevailed all day. Conditions were bad enough to make a few people apprehensive about the whole ski thing and wish they had stayed in bed. The Tram and the Flyer lift were on wind hold again so accessing the higher areas of the resort was a no go; same with the Jet lift: still broken. Okay, but it was so miserable down near the base that who in their right mind would want to go to the top? The snow fell mostly all day and was fortunately enough to cover most of the rocks, ice floes, and mud, as well as our ability to distinguish contours in the flat light. The best entertainment was on the well groomed blue slopes, which offered some great carving, and in the easy glades of Doe, Half-Moon and Quarter-Moon.
Wednesday: The Almost Perfect Day
By this third day, most of the club members knew that 7:30 was when Howie’s opened for breakfast, and were hungry enough to be there early. Agnes went a step further and wore her bathrobe to the buffet breakfast. What did we eat: scrambled eggs, a variety of breakfast meat, and pancakes. Every day.
The Flyer lift and the Tram opened. We had access to the top of the peak! The sun came out! The wind and freezing temperatures went away. While less than six inches of snow had fallen from the previous day, it made a huge difference on the groomers and in the glades. Most of us skied and rode all day.
Thursday: The Great Last Day
The Tram was open; the Jet lift was open! All the lifts were open! It wasn’t cold! We got group photos from the top of the Tram! The Jet lift finally gave us access to the awesome, scary blacks and more glades. Miso Hungry was finally open too: an old tram car near the base of Tramside that was converted to a ramen kiosk which served a variety of delicious ramen for lunch.
Did we set a record for number of PSCers on a tram? I count in this photo seven, including me who took the picture. Big Sky has a tram to the top of Lone Peak. Think we can break the record next year, huh?
That evening, the final gathering with heavy hors d'oeuvres and more raffle gifts, where about half of us won t-shirts, except for Agnes, who got a bright red button down shirt.
Many thanks to those who attended and bore the long miles on the road with courage and decorum. The next eastern carnival will be at Whiteface at Lake Placid, with Banchi offering this trip through the BRSC. It’ll be just as long of a drive, but worth it to ski with such good friends.