JAY, Vt. - Standing inside a plastic capsule, hands wrapped tightly around my chest, I had very little time to be nervous. The teenage girl counted down in a soothing voice, “three, two, one,’’ and the next thing I knew I was shot out of the plastic capsule like a cannonball, free falling through the long tube. I honestly don’t remember if I was shrieking, spewing expletives, or laughing uncontrollably (probably all three) before my body did a loop inside the tube and the far too thrilling journey ended with a big splash. All in all, the ride took about five seconds and I was told that with my heft, I probably reached speeds of 50 miles per hour.
Thus was my introduction to La Chute, one of Jay Peak Resort’s signature rides at the new Pump House indoor waterpark, open since December. It was hard for me to comprehend this behemoth until I peered down at the structure for the first time and my daughter exclaimed, “Wow.’’
This is no small waterpark. The Pump House is the size of an airplane hangar with a lazy river snaking around the perimeter of the vast rectangular building.
Surfers and boogie boarders try to catch the big neon blue wave of the Double Barrel. At the far end of the building, cylindrical tubes of every color curve inside and outside the building, offering the intrepid a variety of water thrills like La Chute. There is also a children’s play area, a pool with rock climbing wall and baskets, an upstairs bar, a large video screen to watch sporting events, an adjacent arcade, and my personal favorite, the mega-size hot tub where I planted myself after a day of skiing.
“Since we opened, the Pump House has been more popular on weekends than the ski area,’’ says Jay Peak’s J.J. Toland.
With the Pump House equipped with a retractable roof, I don’t see the popularity waning in the warm-weather months. My nephew, Micah, 13, summed it up best when he blurted, “This is awesome!’’