Words: Ian Reynolds

Photos: Ian Reynolds & Chris McMahon

Two weekends ago brought winners from Jay Peak’s most recent contest to the resort for an all-expense paid weekend of skiing and the resulting chilling. The contest was simple…two words explaining your love for Jay with a paragraph or so explaining your two words.

Before the weekend even began there was the typical NS shuffle trying to fill all four spots offered up. The winner, Ryan Van Gerven, was having some issues filling all four spots on such short notice (two days to be exact).

Ryan Van Gerven

Amidst the shuffle a second contest, the first people to email him, was started, filling the other three spots with two guys from Burlington, Vermont, Mike McGlinn and Chuckie Devine, and one from Quebec, Malcolm Arcand Laliberte. Rounding out the crew was myself, Ian Reynolds, and Chris McMahon from NS.

In typical Jay fashion the weekend brought variable weather that would sway some, but our group came to ski, and ski we did. With events galore over the course of the weekend we found every bit of entertainment needed to ski almost bell-to-bell with only brief interruptions. The pond skim was definitely the most entertaining of those distractions, with prizes for biggest splash, best costume and for those that actually didn’t get wet, making it all the way across the pond.

Aside from fun events we actually did some skiing. The group that was rushed together proved to be a gallery of like-minded guys all there to have fun. With limited terrain options typical of late season east coast skiing we all stretched our brains to find creative little tree jumps throughout our runs. The best part of the weekend, which is always left to chance when gathering a group of people unknown to each other, was finding that everyone could actually ski, no beaters/joeys/gapers or whatever term you want to use to classify that guy that’s skiing edge to edge and always finds himself in your way.

Chuckie Devine

Mike McGlinn

Malcolm Arcand

Ryan Van Gerven

It was an old school weekend filled with dirty spreads and crotch grabs and all the guys were going for it, not letting the thin cover sway their enthusiasm. Even Chris and I got into the action mixing a little business with pleasure.

NS' very own Chris McMahon.

The author takes a break from note taking to get his shred on.

Adding to the enthusiasm was certainly Jay’s accommodations, which did not disappoint. All contest winners were put up in Hotel Jay, the old school ski lodge with all the old Jay flavor that has existed for so long. Included in their stay were incredible meals which definitely set the weekend off right and keep everyone going strong, with delicious dinners including a lamb shank (hovered by Ryan on the first night) that looked like an entire lamb leg. The hotel also held a party on Saturday night celebrating the rich life of Hotel Jay as at the end of the season it will be torn down and be replaced by a more modern hotel with an indoor water park with all the trimmings of a world-class resort. From a delicious buffet to a band to a silent auction selling pieces of memorabilia including a piece of the wall for $1, Jay showed how much the hotel has meant to so many.

Inside the soon to be extinct Hotel Jay...

A key fact of Jay became very clear this weekend, that even with all the new developments and accommodations, the mountain remains a true skier’s paradise. Not only offering incredible terrain and even some snow in late April but more importantly offering a place where a group of random skiers can come together and find that common thread that bonds everyone with two sticks on their feet together. It’s easy to remain apprehensive when driving in from all points (the shortest travel was from Burlington, furthest from Ontario) to meet a random group of other people and expecting to spend a fun weekend with them, but Jay unlike most offers an atmosphere that almost demands that bonds be formed with the commonality of a sport that so many focus their lives around. Jay has done the same and while seeming a bit cliché, provides a better understanding of their motto, Raise‘em Jay.


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