Berkshire East Ski Area
Berkshire East is nestled in a picturesque mountain valley at 1,840 feet. Skiers from southern New England enjoy this unpretentious ski area in historical Charlemont as an alternative to the flashy and expensive ski resorts in Vermont. Its 45 diverse trails include steep expert slopes for… More
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Comments and Reviews for Berkshire East Ski Area
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Advanced ReviewerReviews: 15
When the white trails of Berkshire East Mountainside first break into view off the winding turns of Massachusetts Route #2, I feel a rush of excitement knowing that I am in for a few hours of winter fun.
Berkshire East is an informal, friendly resort, with a varied assortment of trails. I learned to get comfortable on a snowboard after numerous runs down the Big Chief trail after being coaxed on a snowboard by my teen aged son. It was on the Big Chief that snowboarding was transformed from aching calf muscles and a sore butt to a fun and exciting cruise down the hill. For this alone, I will always be very grateful to Big Chief and Berkshire East.
Although not massive in size, the terrain is varied with an ample assortment of intermediate trails, a few diamonds, and a long set of green cruisers that take you around the backside of the mountain.
What is so appealing to me about Berkshire East is the affordability of the lift ticket, the scenic riverside drive along Route 2, the night skiing, and the fact that I can ski in the morning and still get to work in the afternoon, or leave work a few hours early and enjoy the snow under the lights.
Berkshire East is a very popular destination for school groups and scholastic ski teams on weekdays in the late afternoon and early evening. If you are a midweek skier and enjoy short lift lines, its better to get your ski time in the morning or early afternoon.
Feb 29, 2012
Darryl K. Lewis
Jamaica, New York
Extreme ReviewerReviews: 75
Ski resort reviews can be helpful only if you know the skill level and skiing perspective of the person authoring the review. I am a middle age advanced skier who will often at high speeds hit a small lip in the terrain and get a little air. I will venture in and out of short mogul fields hoping to enhance my mogul skiing technique, and then often duck in and out of moderately spaced glades. If I had to describe the type of skier with which I most closely identify, it would be a high speed cruiser who enjoys medium to giant slalom turns. During the past Martin Luther King (MLK) holiday weekend, my granddaughter and I took the opportunity of first visiting Berkshire East (B-East), and then the following day hopping the border into Vermont to ski Bromley Mountain. Here are my impressions of B-East using the 5 point rating system:
Terrain – Rated 4.0:
B-East carries a pretty good punch for only a 1,180 foot vertical ski hill. It is no doubt the largest and argumentatively the best ski hill in Massachusetts and the Berkshire mountain range. My granddaughter and I always begin a ski day by taking an easy warm-up route. To B-East’s credit, it has a beginner/novice trail (green circled) from the summit to its base. Limited experienced skiers can therefore enjoy a summit cruise of the entire vertical. We then tackled some of the harder stuff. The black diamond runs emanating from the summit are not “death-defyingly” steep, but are steep enough to keep the advanced/expert skiers on the edges and give an exhilarating run down the face of the mountain. What produces the real challenge of this mountain is when those black diamond runs get bumped-up. The B-East has two doubled diamond runs, a short trail near the summit called “Beast” and a gladed area also near the summit called “Tomahawk Glades.” Both were closed during this recent visit, but on a previous visit I attempted to ski the “Tomahawk Glades and believe me it is a legitimate double diamond in its own right. Where B-East really shines is in its selection of cruising runs. “War Dance” was my favorite!! It had plenty of dips, turns, and undulations which gave it character; and when negotiating it at warp speed gave the ultimate pleasures. “Exhibition,” although labeled as a beginner/novice trail, is an advance/expert skier’s playground. It is probably twice the width of “Upper Competition,” B-East’s second widest trail. On “Exhibition” you can pop off some serious giant slalom turns at hyper warp speed without running over other skiers (but please try not to get caught by the ski patrol). “Exhibition presents a great practicing area where many of the advanced and expert skiers were practicing the ability to turn on their uphill ski. I have skied every Massachusetts ski hill over 750 vertical feet, and B-East has the best terrain selection of them all.
Service – Rated 4.0:
Although B-East is the largest Berkshire mountain range resort (in skiable acreage), it appears to have more of a local appeal rather than a corporate destination resort focus. Every stranger that shared the chairlift with me appeared to be a local. There are no condos, outdoor skating rings or heated swimming pools. The workers exhibit a local pride at B-East and do not hesitate to initiate conversation and the same goes for many of the skiing patrons. Throughout this resort there is a friendly approach by everyone. There was a changing bench in the men’s room for those who wished to change into or out of ski clothes. The cafeteria staff busted their respective humps to keep the food line short on this busy MLK holiday weekend. When my granddaughter got a splinter in her hand from a wooden bench, the ski-patrol entertained her in their hut until they could finally remove the splinter rather painlessly. At the end of the day my ski lock malfunctioned and would not respond to the proper combination. My high performing and very responsive Volkl Supersport Allstar Titanium skis appeared to be doomed to spend eternity locked to a wooden ski rack (keep in mind that we were supposed to be heading into Vermont to ski Bromley the very next day). The lifts had closed down and most of the skiing crowd had left and it was nearly 5:00 pm. I easily found a B-East staff member who readily contacted maintenance. In a matter of minutes the maintenance worker arrived with a generator and a power rotary saw. He jokingly cut the lock, and emancipated my precious skis with no questions asked. Now there is an example of what you call true customer service.
Crowds – Rating 4.0:
Crowds were moderate for one of the busiest ski holidays of the ski season. The only times we encountered at most a two minute lift line, was approximately 10:00 am and then directly after lunch at about 1:30 pm. The cafeteria was somewhat crowded at noontime, but not unbearably so.
Activities – Rating 2.0:
B-East is smack-dad in the middle of the densest peaks of the Berkshires or better known as “boonieville” (as in out in the boondocks). They did add tubing to their mountain activities as well and some modest terrain park facilities. There appears to be not many places to stay or many things to do.
Value: - Rating 4.0:
Not only are the lift tickets a relative bargain, but a five dollar discount is applied when you verify Triple-A membership.
In summary: You will have no regrets (assuming sufficient amounts of fallen snow) in choosing to ski or ride at B-East. It has terrain for everybody without being classified as a “family resort” (meaning a lack of challenging territory). Will my granddaughter and I return? Yes, God willing, and probably next year.
Jan 20, 2011
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