[Eds note: This post was published on April 1, 2019 — hint: April Fools Day.]
In an unprecedented move that appears to be a win-win for all parties, Governor Phil Scott and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have announced that the province of Quebec will be annexing Jay Peak and Burke Mountain Resorts. At a joint press briefing on Sunday, Prime Minister Trudeau said he’d been searching for a ski house in Vermont when he came across this listing for Jay Peak. “We Canadians are frugal and how can I phrase this except to say: location, location, location and the price was right.“
Under the agreement, the Canadian government will offer an undisclosed sum for the two resorts, which, along with the surrounding condos, hotels and amenities, will become part of Quebec. The resorts have been in receivership following the EB-5 fraud scandal and recently were put on the market.
Both resorts, which are less than 30 miles from the border, will offer new year-round season passes that will serve as photo IDs for expedited border crossings. New RFID scanners (formerly used at Stowe Mountain Resort, then discarded after the Vail Resorts purchase) will be installed at the Newport, Derby Line and St. Albans border patrol stations.
“While everyone has been focused on the Mexican border, the national media has all but ignored the caravans of Quebecois cars with loaded ski racks that have been trying to cross into Vermont,” noted Vermont Governor Phil Scott, adding,“If you thought the weekend traffic at your ski area was bad, you should see what was happening up north. ”
On a recent powder weekend, angry Montrealers lined up at the St. Albans border, waving bottles of Canadian Club and threatening to riot if they had to wait another hour at customs. “We considered declaring a national emergency but then decided this offered a better solution,” said Gov. Scott.
While the land between the two resorts will remain part of Vermont, the resorts themselves, access roads leading to them, and everything on the trail maps will be considered Canadian territory. The glades off Big Jay, however, and Burke Mountain Academy will remain in Vermont, thanks to a grant from the Shiffrin Foundation.
“We believe the excellent skiing, the waterpark at Jay, the mountain bike facilities at Burke – these are all magnificent things, eh? And tabernac, both resorts have formidable poutine,” Prime Minister Trudeau exclaimed. Trudeau, who has been spotted snowboarding in Vermont, pledged that these will become his new home mountains.
When asked to elaborate on the sale price, Gov. Scott responded: “It’s enough to fix every pothole in Vermont, with maybe a little left over to clean up parts of Missisquoi Bay,” he said, referring the northern branch of Lake Champlain that has been plagued by algae blooms.
“Ever since the EB-5 scandal that caused two of these important resorts to go into receivership we’ve been looking at the best ways to bring jobs and revenue to this area,” said Gov. Scott. “Already, those resorts accept the Canadian loonie at par and close to 80 percent of the Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resort visitors are from Quebec. By annexing them we will avoid the national customs and border crossing issues that have made headlines in recent months.”
“It’s like a reverse Brexit,” Gov. Scott’s chief of staff, Jason Gibbs, explained in an interview later, “except it’s easier since both Quebec and Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom cultivate similar, quality products: skiing, weed and maple syrup. Plus, this gives Canadians access to way better beer—Vermont double IPAs.”
Steve Wright, the general manager of Jay Peak will stay on and has been granted honorary Canadian citizenship. “We will be making a few subtle changes,” he noted. “Beginning in 2020, the resort will be transitioning to the Francophone spelling, ‘J’ai Pique’ and Burke will become ‘Burke´ (pronounced Burke-eh)’. ” All waffle houses will become creperies. “We’ll also be welcoming the Montreal Canadiens to practice at our Ice Haus (to be renamed Maison de Glace) rink,” Wright said.
Accredited members of both resorts’ ski patrols will now be licensed to perform routine medical procedures covered by Canada’s nationalized healthcare system, such as vasectomies.
While Canada also put in a bid for Kingdom Trails, Kingdom Trails communications manager Lily Ride said that deal was off the table: “No friggin’ way.” She admitted she was concerned about the impact on the mountain bike trail system and beer shortages at Mike’s Tiki Bar. “We respect our Canadian brethren— they live in desperately cold conditions, work hard and deserve the chance to make fresh tracks here. But the crowding has me concerned— I just hope we don’t have to build a wall,” she said with a sigh.