Jay: Hot and Still Cooking with More New Plans

JAY - Jay Peak Resort continues to expand into an all-weather destination place. Plans for multi-million dollar expansions and revitalization of the State Side area of the mountain are underway. Those plans call for an 84-room hotel and improvements to the base facility, lifts, a new ski shop, a learn to ski center, and a childcare facility.Bill Stenger, co-owner and president of the resort, said that plans continue to develop quickly. There is no exact price tag on the project yet, but Stenger said it will be several million dollars and that investors are being actively sought.Plans also include a zip line, ropes course, and mountain bike trail development.Revitalization and new developments are quickly taking shape at the resort. Towards the end of last year, the new Pump House Indoor Water Park opened its doors and is very popular.The Tram Haus Lodge, one of the first projects completed in the expansion, opened its doors two years ago with new developments following ever since. The new Hotel Jay is open with one third of its rooms and its restaurant available for use. By the end of February, the remaining 100 rooms, along with a new conference center, are slated to open.The development of Jay is funded through the EB-5 Foreign Investor Program, which allows foreigners to invest in an area with high unemployment in exchange for a green card for themselves and immediate family members. The investment must provide jobs according to program specifications.So far, investors have provided funding of approximately $120-million for expansion at the resort.Stenger said one of his goals is to make Jay Peak Resort a "weather proof" facility. So far this year, the weather has been warmer than usual with little snowfall. But people are not cancelling their reservations at Jay, Stenger said. Visitors are still coming to the resort to ski, and to use the new water park and new ice arena.Skier visits is down about 8 to 10 percent over the same time last year, but the forecast is looking good and calling for snow, Stenger said. And Stenger said that the months of February, March and April are the most important for the season, and last year proved to be the snowiest.Right now Stenger is very pleased with the level of occupancy at the resort, he said.The resort received eight to ten inches of snow over the weekend and snow making is happening as often as possible. Ninety percent of the trials are open and the remaining trails are likely to open soon.