Learning to ski or snowboard at an early age is the perfect way to help young children instill a love for winter. Exploring the slopes helps kids build self-confidence, meet new friends and develop a lifelong affinity for the outdoors.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Jay Peak has experienced some growth in the last few years. Actually, a lot of growth. This season they added the Stateside Hotel making it the third new property to open in just the last four years. This affordable option for families is adjacent to the Mountain Kids Adventure Center where you will find Jay’s one-of-a-kind Disney Playtime Riglet Park. Other lodging choices include the Tram Haus Lodge which is as close to the snow as you can get without actually sleeping on it, and the Hotel Jay, which gives families direct access to the Pump House Waterpark.
My family of four spent a weekend at the resort in late March 2014. We stayed in a two bedroom suite in the Hotel Jay that had two king bedrooms, a pullout queen sofa in the living room and two full bathrooms. There was plenty of room for all of us. While the suites are spacious and well appointed, they are not soundproof. As you might expect, many families vacation at Jay. They are there to ski, use the waterpark and often groups come to play hockey at the Ice Haus. If your family likes it on the more peaceful side, especially around nap or bedtime, you might want to request to have your room at the far end of the hallway away from the elevator or any groups that are traveling together.
We also had a fully equipped kitchen, plus a stocked Keurig coffee maker in the master bedroom. If you don’t bring your own food, you can pick up supplies from Provisions General Store. They have a nice selection of deli meats, fresh produce, milk, beer, wine, yogurt, granola and more. We actually grabbed breakfast sandwiches, cereal and juice here both days before heading out to ski.
Having never skied at Jay Peak before, we started off on the Metro Quad. This gave us a chance to take some nice easy greens and get familiar with the terrain. We found the trails to be wide open and skier and snowboard friendly. Once we were comfortable, we decided to head up to the top of the mountain. A word of advice if you don’t go on the enclosed Tram – no exposed skin. On windy days the last part of the Flyer Express chairlift to the top of the mountain can be brutal. Hand/foot warmers and balaclavas are your friend. We were there in late March and every trail was open. They had almost 300” for the season and it pretty much snowed the entire time we were there. No complaints though from our crew, the conditions were excellent. There was plenty of powder and packed powder to be found everywhere.
Après Ski at Jay doesn’t mean a trip to the bar. It means get your bathing suit on and then heading to the bar. The folks at Jay were thinking when they built this behemoth of an entertainment center. Not only did they plan to keep the kids entertained for hours, they took care of the parents too. If you are lucky enough to have teens like we do, from your perch at the Drink you can keep an eye on your kids in Pump House Waterpark down below. There are slides, chutes, hot tubs and plenty of places to play for kids of all ages. When your kids are ready to dry out for a bit there is also an Arcade. Be sure to grab the coupon from the book you’ll get at check-in that is worth $6 worth of tokens! If your crew are starving, the Warming Shelter Snack Bar serves your typical kid favorites – chicken fingers, pizza, burgers and fries.
Everyone seems to love the Activity River. Grab a single or double tube with your kid, hop in and just float along for a while. Or climb to the top of the Start Tower and take either the green (closed) or blue (open) slide down and splash out at the bottom. Surfers will like the Double Barrel Flowrider. This seems to be one of the most popular things to do. It is split in half – one side for surfing, one side for boogie boarding. Younger kids will like to hang out in the Mill Pond Play Area. A few things that will make your waterpark experience more enjoyable are beach towels from home, flip flops and even a robe. There are height and weight requirements for some of the rides so it is best to know what they are before you go.
Families will find the most value when booking their hotel, ski and water park tickets together. Check the most current vacation packages here:
- Ski + Splash + Stay
- Ski + Stay
- Splash + Stay
There are lots of great family dinning choices at Jay. From take-out pizza at Mountain Dick’s to a great sit-down meal at Alice’s Table. The Foundry Pub & Grill and the Tower Bar are both good places to grab lunch (or dinner) but know that they are pretty packed around meal times. If you are planning to eat dinner at Alice’s or the Clubhouse Grill, you will want to make a reservation ahead of time. Everywhere we went there was a kids menu that offered choices like salad, pizza, pasta, grilled chicken, burgers, grilled cheese and chicken fingers. It is highly unlikely that a child will struggle to find something to eat while at Jay.
It wasn’t open when we there, but this old Tram car serves up Ice Cream in the summer months. Guess it gives us a reason to go back!