AlpineZone Challenge 2006 – Steve Wright of Jay Peak

The AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge was designed to provide a method for our forum members to get official answers to skiing-related questions directly from a ski area representative. Steve Wright, Director of Marketing and Sales at Jay Peak in Jay, Vermont, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 10/10/2006:

JPTracker: I understand that you are currently talking to lift manufacturers for new lifts for both the West Bowl and to replace existing lifts. What kind and how many lifts are you looking at for the West Bowl? One plan I heard is that you will be replacing the Bonaventure Quad with a high speed quad. Then the chairs from the old quad will be rehung on the Jet. The balance of the Bonaventure parts will then be used to replace the Queens T-bar and possibly relocate it for use in the park on Lower Can Am. Can you confirm this and elaborate on the plan for the T-bar. Which season is this being planned for? Last, the old Green Mountain Double is being kept in storage. Are there any plans to reuse it for the West Bowl?

Steve Wright: Hey there JPTracker. Conversations, at this point, are ultra preliminary. The West Bowl project has been scaled (not back, but sort of sideways) and will include one or two lifts-posiibly three. One of them being a HSQ and the other, possibly, being some sort of surface lift. The Bonnie will be replaced but that action won’t have much of a relationship with what’s going on out West. And nope, no plans on using the Doub out West either. I’ll get you more info on this later but, to be honest, we have more rows to hoe before we head out in that direction. Onto the next question…

thetrailboss: Steve, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback regarding the Lodge. As we understand it, the plan is to build the new lodge building next to the existing base lodge. After this then the hotel will be replaced and then the existing base lodge renovated. When will construction of the new base lodge begin? Where does the West Bowl fit into this sequence? Will is start after the new lodge building is complete or after everything is complete? Here are a couple suggestions for the new base lodge. Some folks in here had some suggestions regarding the new lodge, including that the bathrooms be on the main floor and don’t require the use of stairs to get to and that the lounge not be in the basement. And last, is Jay going to have any sort of press release that shows what the renovated Tram Building and new hotel complex are going to look like? Since this seems to be the next most likely step in development is stands to reason that some sort of design work has been produced. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Thanks.

Steve Wright: Trailboss—just had a bit of a sit-down over this very topic last week and energy surrounding this project is starting to crackle. While we really are still in planning mode here, this is where we stand at 4:30p on October 10th. The Tram Side Base Lodge will expand to both the left and right. In a perfect scenario one area of expansion will connect to the new Hotel Jay ( The Hotel Jay is in desperate need of having this adjective preface it, believe me) in one direction and expand well past the Tram docking area in the other. The ‘main’ floor would have expanded rest room facilities, Snowsports School, Rental, Repair, Demo and most likely Daycare all within shoving distance of each other and sort of a microclimate (of sorts) of different cafeteria/food options.

Now in the scenario we’re currently reviewing, a 3rd floor would be added that would likely have an expanded, tastefully done pub with food options that would look out and up the mtn. One scenario places this Pub directly above the Tram docking area allowing for some pretty unique perspectives of incoming/outgoing Trams. Suffice to say—we need the food and we certainly need a better view of the out-of-doors than what is presently offered by the convivial Golden Eagle.

OK so, timelines. Again best case here TB. We start expanding/retrofitting the Base Lodge this Spring with some level of intermediate completion by next season. This is followed by the creation of a new Hotel the following spring. The West Bowl happens somewhere in the middle but is predicated on several factors including financing, the possibility of bringing in some sort of branded 3rd party, permitting and, last but not least, business levels. What we aren’t going to do is build this thing out before we have a pressing need for more space. I’m not sure this made much sense and I may have just confused myself, but there you go.

One more thing, I actually just got some new schematics of the potential layout. Give me a week or so and I’ll post them at

JPTracker: At the end of this past season you had a new policy for closing trails. Instead of closing a trail because there was walking required you left the trail open and posted that walking was required. This was great since it left a lot of good trails open which were in great shape except for small areas. Do you intend to keep this policy?

Steve Wright: JPT—whenever a trail is predominantly skiable/rideable, we’ll do our best to keep it open and just caution you against the nasty stuff.. Caveat Emptor—that sort of thing.

NHPowderhound: Steve, Congratulations on helping to keep Jay a unique skiiing experience. I hope with all this expansion talk you will continue to keep the Jay a simple skier’s mountain. Do you and Bill think with the new border crossing policy requiring a passport starting January 2007 will cut down skier visits from the Canadian market? Any plans to give a heads up about this on the website? Some folks may not know.

Steve Wright: NHP—Updated news on the Border crossing front. This past week, GWB signed a bill pushing back the ‘passport ref’ until 2008. In short, it’s status quo for crossing the Border until then. That should give Sen Leahy’s panel a good slice of time to figure out a more, um, non-reactive solution. We’re all for security but it doesn’t have to come at the expense of travel and tourism.

Bob R: In the past I have found your involvement is discussion boards fun, and at times a bit crazy. I enjoyed some of the events you hosted in the past, a lot of fun. I have heard your Jay board is not operational. Any interest in getting your past group over here? We would enjoy your posting when possible as well.

Steve Wright: The Jay Board is simply napping. Our re launch of the site has been slightly more grisly than expected but is coming back along. It’ll be back. Promise.

NHPowderhound: What is your favorite trail/glade at Jay and why?

Steve Wright: NHP. Green Beret. I like it because my wife kicked my ass our first time down it and she was 7 mos pregnant. Very emasculating. Seriously, it’s steep and makes you feel, during the run out, that you’re somewhere that you shouldn’t be.

BeanoNYC: What’s the update with your recent battle with local police over speed traps? Has the rift led to any other problems with the local authorities?

Steve Wright: Not sure there’s any update of significance to report on the local speed trap front. Our mail was pretty evenly divided between two camps on the issue. We had/have no problem with policing speed limits but what was/is being done borders on entrapment and setting up Canadians was at the heart of the issue, not town safety. We’ll peacefully coexist and we’ll continue to use whatever means we have at our disposal (website, flyers, stuff like that) to help educate folks on local laws and limits.

Smootharc: We all know Jay gets that extra bit (or more) of frosting than it’s neighbors….But there’s also some who grumble that Jay really lays it on thick with “exaggerated” snowfall totals. Or at least more exaggeration than is “normal” for ski areas. Please comment. How & where are Jay’s snowfall totals calculated? Who takes the measurements & when are they taken? Thanks.

Steve Wright: Smooth. Yes, we are accused of being overly optimistic with respect to snowfall. I think most people have their minds made up before they even get here and see exactly what they want to see. If we get 2 feet on a Monday and it’s skied through by Friday then we come off sounding disingenuous which is probably unfair. We measure at a few different spots across lower/middle and upper elevations but with wind scour, finding the perfect spot can be tough. Patrol usually gives us a read during the day, and the groomers give us reads when it snows through the night. Myself? I think we have a pretty damn honest report—especially when benchmarked against others and we’ll continue to try and tell it like it is. All criticism is helpful—even the not-so-constructive brand is pretty constructive to be honest.

JPTracker: The Glade & Chute Bash was held once a few years ago but seems to get cancelled every year since due to weather. Do you plan to try it again this year. What other events do you have planned? Powder Eight? UN bump competition (Not sure of the name)? Pond Skimming? Competitions in the terrain park?

Steve Wright: JPT—I’d love to the get the Glade and Chute back. It’s on the sched again this year so cross your fingers. Powder 8’s are back, Bump Comp and Pond Skimming are all there. I’m partial to the August West event we run in August. Given how much I love my Pearly Baker.

From_the_NEK: On a different note I really don’t mind when the Flyer is on wind hold. However, it is a big pain in the neck to get back to the Stateside after hiking and skiing the trails on the NW side of the mountain. Can anything be done to fix the problem of getting from one side of the resort to the other? Are there any plans to make this traverse more efficient? The line for the slow Quad under the Tram got crazy long on March 4th last year. I just hiked back to the Stateside. Maybe that left more snow for me while everyone stood in line.

Steve Wright: NEK—I remember that March 4th weekend. Part of me was thrilled at the turnout. The other part was busy hiding under my desk. That being said traffic going from one side to the other can be a problem and that will be alleviated once we add some more uphill capacity. More on that later.

Thanks for the questions folks. If you have more specific stuff, send it to me at and I’ll do my best to get back to you. See you around.

To view forum comments on this Challenge and the Challenge Results, please visit the following page: width=