Monthly Archives: July 2009
Excerpted from WPTZ.com in Burlington: JAY, Vt. — The normally quiet off-season at the Jay Peak Ski Resort this summer is anything but, as 200 construction workers — almost all from the local area — race to complete a new $20 million base lodge and hotel in time for the upcoming winter. Jay Peak, which opened in 1955, sits near the Canadian border in Vermont’s Orleans County, an area with one of the state’s highest unemployment rates.
But resort owner Bill Stenger hopes his multi-year resort expansion project will help change that. Gov. Jim Douglas joined Stenger and scores of contractors and local leaders for a groundbreaking Wednesday afternoon marking the start of phase two of the expansion. Work begins this week on a new ice arena, expected to be finished next spring — followed by a golf course clubhouse, a second hotel and conference center, and an indoor water park. All told, Stenger says, Jay Peak will invest more than $100 million on the property over the next few years, by far the largest development underway in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.
The year-round amenities, he estimates will in turn lead to 600-700 jobs. “We’re not going to have to lay off the hundreds of people we now lay off at the end of the ski season,” Stenger said. “We’ll be able to energize this region’s economy and we’re excited about that.” The financing for the Jay Peak project is coming from foreign investors, rather than traditional credit markets. Stenger says he has worked for years to tap in to the EB-5 program created by Congress. Under the program, investors willing to put at least $500,000 at risk in an approved equity project that creates new local jobs are in turn eligible for permanent residency in the United States.
The NOAA El Nino Forecast for Winter 2009-2010 has been released. In the years I can remember that were strong El Nino, it wasn’t ideal for skiers. What meteorologists call a “zonal flow” develops. Big wet storms pound the west coast and come straight across the country. When that flow is really strong…cold air gets bottled up in Canada making only short appearances south of the US border.
When El Nino isn’t as strong, it can be good. Honestly I’m not sure what the difference is between a weak El Nino and La Nina. They may be the same thing. In that case, the systems come across and the cold air is more likely to be involved in New York and the northeast.
I still think it’s best when there is no effect. Big cold Highs coming south from Canada, with clippers bringing down more cold air. And coastal lows running along the fronts. That’s what I’m after. I’d always rather have consistent cold, even with a reduced chance of the big juicy storms. The big meltdowns are a bummer – especially for a mountain like Gore – with limited ability to recover the mountain quickly. When this July prognostication comes out every year, the NOAA wording is always non-committal. They know it’s a long way off. But they seems to be saying there is a decent chance of a strong El Nino.