Jay Peak has Lost its Way

I have been an avid Jay Peaker for years. Deep snow and a 250$ college ski pass was an easy sell, but they have lost their way. A couple years back, Jay Peak owner and my neighbour Jacques Hébert passed away, I think his management style went with him. In many ways, Jay seems to have come down with a case of “Vailitis”, a disease named after the famous Colorado resort. The disease afflicts resort owners who continually upgrade their sites with luxury hotels, golf courses, and other perks to attract the rich elite. The problem is that that elite is very small and very fickle.

Jay has installed new chairs, a new gondola, more condos, a golf course and is building a new hotel – all of which was needed. However, the new chair, named the “Flyer”, but nicknamed “The Freezer” is horibly designed and each lift up freezes you to the bones. Can’t they throw up some bubbles or wind barriers? In conjunction with these changes, they have hiked the ticket price to 65$ per day and cut down on the food quality; my poutine is now half the size and half as good – making it 4 times worse.

A good deal of research supports the idea that the two most important factors for contentment are climate and food. Jay is failing both  and in the process, driving away non-hardcore skiers. There has to be a better way for ski resorts than emulating IntraWest and Vail.

For example, over the past couple years I have asked Jay to offer some form of Young Professionals ski pass, they have not even replied to my emails. After you finish college, passes go from 250$ to 650$, a little dramatic. Can’t they offer a more affordable pass for the 24-30 year old market who does not have that much disposable income?

They also seem to have no regard for recycling or composting, everything in the cafeteria is thrown out (with the exception of bottles and cans that are worth $$). Last gripe, their marketing budget must be gigantic. Every year they rebuild their website, air radio advertisment and plaster the highways with ads. Ridiculous. Spend that money on a nice chair, better food and you will build more brand loyalty.

I will not be going back to Jay in the near future.

Published on February 22, 2009