Start of Jay Peak ski season marks end of chapter in EB-5 scandal

Start of Jay Peak ski season marks end of chapter in EB-5 scandal

Lifts started spinning at Jay Peak on Friday, where the beginning of a new ski season marks the end of a chapter from the EB-5 scandal.

Friday marked the first day of skiing and snowboarding at Jay Peak in the Northeast Kingdom, a welcome prospect for thrillseekers I spoke with who say they have been waiting all year.

Snow guns have been roaring for a few weeks now creating a base layer for the winter season ahead.

“We actually drove three hours to get here today,” said Robert Bruedle of Farmington, New Hampshire. ‘We fell in love with this place, we came here last year and did the face shoots on a wicked crazy pow day and it was just, we can’t experience anything like this around our home mountains. A lot of them aren’t even open.”

Day one at Jay Peak was carved out for season pass-holders, employees, and loyal followers of the resort.

“This is an opportunity to say thanks for riding it out with us and sticking around with Jay Peak. It feels good to know people have stuck with the company and our mission to provide a good time,” said Mike Chait, the communications manager at Jay Peak.

Many of these skiers and staffers are stuck with the mountain through periods of uncertainty. The resort was one of several projects at the heart of the largest-ever fraud case in Vermont. Former Jay Peak president Bill Stenger and his business partner, Ariel Quiros, swindled foreign investors looking for green cards out of millions. The resort had been in receivership until this fall when Pacific Group Resorts purchased Jay for $76 million.

“They’ve come in and want to keep Jay Peak staying Jay Peak,” Chait said.

That’s welcome news for local skiers.

“It’s a great mountain, a great place to be,” said Peter Farrell of Enosburgh. “The atmosphere is a huge part of why people come to Jay and that feeling is kind of staying the same even under new ownership, I believe.”

Skiers and snowboarders are hoping for a long winter ahead marking a new chapter for Jay Peak.

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