Among the small treasures in my memory of skiing and mountains are two occasions when the operators of Jay Peak invited me to spend a weekend in what was then called “Elevation 4000,” a rambling apartment attached to the cable house at the 4,000-foot summit of the mountain.
At night we could see the glow of the lights of Montreal in the northern distance, but best of all, we got our first full-length run of Jay before the lifts opened, giving us the run of this big, rawboned mountain before anybody else was on the snow.
One Sunday morning we woke to about 8 inches of new light powder. We began on the Montrealer, one of the bread-and-butter trails from the top that distributes skiers to a blue and black trail system with such runs as Green Beret, Northway and Milk Run.
Tucked into that group is a short, steep run named for the ferocious Austrian FIS downhill course at Kitzbuehel and my abiding memory of U.S. racer Daron Rahlves going by at about 85 mph on his way to a victory there. I know what the Jay trail cutters had in mind with the Kitzbuehel moniker, a nod to the venue for the famed Hahnenkamm downhill.