Little Jay is a shoulder ridge on Big Jay that sits on the southwest side of Jay Peak Resort, one of Vermont's most famous ski areas. Despite its proximity to a powder-hungry population, Little Jay often hides fresh tracks weeks after a storm, while Jay Peak and even Big Jay get skied off quickly. In addition, the mountain receives above average snow totals due to the weather phenomenon known locally as the "Jay Cloud."
Little Jay is only accessible by skinning up from Route 242, and it includes a long run out section through dense trees. From the parking area, cross the road and follow the old logging road up past the clearing on the left. The skin track will climb very gradually at first, becoming steeper as you enter the densest part of the forest. The pitch will decrease after a steep section, and the forest will open up. If you're looking for a super short run, bear left following skin tracks up a steep hollow to an open saddle. For the full experience, continue straight as the pitch becomes steeper and steeper. Near the top, the forest opens up in a wide swath with very few trees. When you reach the thick layer of spruce, it is time to transition. Bear right as you descend to get the most out of your ride back toward the car.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.