Averaging more snow than anywhere else in New England, Jay Peak has earned its reputation as the place in the East for the deep and the steep. For a long time, that was enough. But Jay upped the ante in the last decade, adding new lodges, an indoor water park, and an NHL regulation ice area capable of accommodating 1,000 spectators. Whatever your reason for going, here are a trio of places to call it a night between storm cycles in the Northeast's powder kingdom.
Clientele: Vacationing families mentally prepped for a weekend of kids' meals.
For better or worse, Hotel Jay is the new face of Jay Peak, and it's a pretty nice face at that. Attached to an indoor water park and a family-style arcade, Hotel Jay can keep the kids happy, but it's walk-in, ski-out access caters a plenty to the family of powder hounds. With The Foundry Pub & Grill inside and Miso Hungry serving up ramen from the old tram car, food is a non-issue in one of the Green Mountain State's truest gems.
The Deal: Get free lessons for the kids with your lodging starting at $275 a night for a family of four.
Tips Up: Cook lunch in the full kitchen while watching the Tom Brady stack Super Bowl rings on your room's HD flat screen, and then step back out the door to ski the New England's deepest powder in the afternoon.
Faceplant: This place gets packed out. Like, quick. You may need to book up to six months in advance, which can be a little scary with finicky East Coast winters.
Location: Ski-in, ski-out at Jay Peak Resort, next to the Tram and Flyer Express Quad
Phone: (800) 451-4449
Tram Haus Lodge
Clientele: Couples that don't mind flexing the plastic.
For those that pair their powder skiing with the finer things, the Tram Haus Lodge is Jay Peak's answer to the upper crust offerings of other East Coast resorts while still staying just Jay enough for the rest of us. Featuring a full spa and fine dining, Jay's newest hotel opened in 2009 and sits at the base of the tram. Grab a Switchback, order the poutine, and curl up by near the fireplace to offset the leg burn before the bullwheel starts spinning again in the morning
Food and Beverage: Easy access to fine dining at Alice's Table Restaurant, a pint or two at the Tower Bar, and your morning fix at Aroma Café.
The Deal: Snag the coupon book upon check-in and save on just about anything in the base area, including the spa, most restaurants, and the waterpark. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much for your ski ticket.
Tips Up: The Taiga Spa downstairs is a great way to relax after a hard day on the hill. Cost is separate from the room, but a massage treatment can go a long way on those weary ski legs.
Faceplant: Steeply varying lodging rates (during ski season). A ski and stay package for $99 per person one week could become a $235 per person package any other. Be wary and book well in advance.
Location: Ski-in, ski-out at Jay Peak Resort, at the base of the Tram and Flyer Express Quad.
Phone: (800) 451-4449
Grandpa Grunts Lodge
Clientele: Canadian college students and Ice Coast ski bums
It doesn't get much more divey and awesome than Grandpa Grunts Lodge in Montgomery, Vermont. With thin walls and stiff bunks, Grunts is not in it for the Yelp reviews, but it makes up for its budget lodging with one of the most legendary party basements around. If walls could talk, they'd probably say "clean me," but they'd follow up with a, "damn, that was one hell of a good time."
The deal: Instead of settling for gas station burritos, grab a homemade all-you-can-eat breakfast in Grunts' basement for $5.
Tips Up: The basement. Rub shoulders with area ski legends, college students, and international company while enjoying pool, darts, and music. A bar ripe for action sets the scene in this mountain town enclave. Just don't forget the Molsons.
Faceplant: Sometimes the hot water can be spotty. It's also not the quietest place in the world. But, for $30, you get what you pay for.
Location: Downtown Montgomery, Vermont, about 10 miles from Jay Peak Resort.
Phone: (802) 326-4572