Good news for skiers. Jay Peak and Smuggler’s Notch don’t plan to slow down. In fact, both areas are confident they will get a full season in despite reporting a 60% to 70% decline in attendance numbers.
According to Steve Wright, president and general manager of Jay Peak, the resort is planning to keep lifts spinning daily through April 25 and is even considering a final push for May 1 if “weather and conditions allow.” Steve Clokey, vice president of Smuggler’s Notch, says that they are planning to stay open through April 11.
When pressed, Wright confirmed “conditions” means snow on the ground.
“Visitor traffic usually peels off in April. This year we’re 100 inches under natural snowfall so we make that decision based on what we have on the ground,” says Wright.
Both resorts say that the goals this season have been staying open as long as possible while keeping people safe.
“The number-one goal, above everything else, was get open, stay open and stay safe,” Clokey said.
“Knock on wood, there’s still plenty of season left,” says Wright.
Despite the decision of ski resorts like Stowe to have skiers reserve spots at the resort ahead of time, Jay has set up a system of attestation.
“Anyone that was from out of state needed to certify with a certificate of compliance and go through a two-week quarantine,” says Wright.
Even though this is the time of the year when downhillers don T-shirts above their snow pants, the smell of grilling meat wafting around them in the parking lot, the resort is still bullish on its pandemic measures.
Clockey said while rule changes implemented by Gov. Phil Scott on multi-family gatherings might have changed things a bit, it doesn’t give a greenlight to tailgaters.
Guests are still instructed to boot up at their cars and head directly to the lifts and back when they’re done or need a snack. Masks are still required.
“We have a slogan — ‘finish strong’ — and we don’t want to get lax about the safety we’ve been practicing all season long,” Clokey said. “That applies to employees and guests.”
As normal during the annual season wind-down, Smuggs will gradually shut down portions of the property.
“We traditionally close in mid-April. We’ll start with Morse Mountain, then Madonna but we’ll keep Sterling Summit open,” said Clokey.
Jay Peak is pushing to stay open until May 1.
“With storms earlier this week and again today, we’ve had nearly a foot of new snow and are expecting to add more,” says Wright.
Most of the other Vermont and northeastern locales will stay open into April. Wildcat, Mt. Snow and Stowe will close on the April 18, Okemo and Attitash will close April 4.
Wright said Jay didn’t have to reign in the usual enthusiasm about snow conditions and bluebird skies, parties, music and special events — the last few of which are not happening this year.
“Quite the opposite. We want as much enthusiasm as we can get. We depend on that spirit and it’s keeps us going,” he said.
“We’re not backing away from raising the energy as far as letting people know how good the skiing and riding can be this time of the year,” Clokey said