I only mention this because the "Aqua Loop" is one of the many planned features of the new Jay Peak Waterpark. And I gotta say, I want to give it a try.
I've written before about resorts catering to many types of skiers (I even used Jay Peak as an example of a resort that remains "pure"). I have always felt that different people go to different ski areas for different reasons, and these days, ski areas have to cater to all of those differences (during the day and at night). I don't really know anything about advertising, but it seems that in order to draw a lot of people to your resort, you need to spread your marketing tentacles really wide to encompass everyone; whether that means advertising in a family magazine, or letting 6 bloggers ski and stay slopeside for free in hopes that they'll write some good stuff about your area. And sometimes, it might lead to mixed signals:
FURTHER UP. FURTHER OUT. At another resort, they're questioning whether to tip the ski valet. But up here, no one questions anything.
But if there's no ski valet, who will watch my skis while I'm on the Aqua Loop?!?
Like I said, though, I don't begrudge a ski area simply for giving the people what they want. It sounds like they're taking the necessary steps to develop the mountain into a year round "resort." And in a time of increased costs for snowmaking, electricity, and personnel, this is the kind of thing that keeps the lifts turning every winter, which is something that every skier wants. And they even found an innovative way to pay for it: The EB-5 program, which provides funding and local jobs (something I think we should all get behind).
I do want to talk a little bit about another option, though. Last Friday morning, we started skinning up an old trail in the area. We eventually found ourselves in pristine wilderness. It was quiet. Really quiet. There was none of the hustle and bustle that we'd been accustomed to over the last couple of days in the resort. Just us, the sounds of our skins sliding up the slope, and the sunny silence of an empty trail.
We weren't that far away from Jay, but it felt like another world. Calm, serene, soothing. The snow was velvety soft, too:
Eventually, it got a little more dense::
And we had to start ducking:
So the slopes weren't perfectly cut, it took a little work to get up, and the extreme roadside snow bank barrel roll still needs to be perfected. It was still one of the most fun times of the whole trip.
And that's what I'm trying to get at. Regardless of how "overdeveloped" and "corporatized" your home mountain becomes, somewhere in those hills, there's a way to escape. There's a way to leave everything behind and, even if it's just for one morning, there's a way to go back to skiing the way it was before the slopeside condos, resort villages, and ski valets. There's a way to just ski.
I still want to try that Aqua Loop, though.