The Berkshires: Plenty Of Ski Terrain In A Beautiful Setting -

The Berkshires of western Massachusetts make up some of the roughest and most spectacular terrain in southern New England, and offer some fine skiing and riding.

Mount Greylock, 3,491 feet above sea level, is the highest peak in the state, and dominates the region. The Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps cut the first ski trail on Mount Greylock – the Thunderbolt Trail – in 1934. That famous racing trail dropped more than 1,800 vertical feet in 1.6 miles. The CCC, which created a strong foundation for alpine skiing across New England, also cut two ski trails on Wachusett Mountain – the Pine Hill Trail and the Balance Rock Trail.

Jiminy Peak in Hancock is the jewel of the Berkshires. Jiminy is a self-contained resort, with skiing and boarding, slopeside accommodations, a village center with shops, and dining on site. The advanced skier or boarder can find challenging terrain, while intermediates can enjoy runs just made for cruising.

Take the high speed six-passenger Berkshire Express to the summit. Beginners, too, can take to the slopes at their own pace. If you just can't get your fill of skiing during the day, don't worry. There's lighted night skiing to fill the void.

Berkshire East in Charlemont has a vertical drop of 1,180 feet, 45 trails and five lifts.

Ski Butternut in Great Barrington has a 1,000 foot vertical, 22 trails and 12 lifts.

Catamount in Hillsdale, N.Y., and South Egremont, Mass., has a vertical drop of 1,000 feet, 32 trails and six lifts.

Ski Bousquet in Pittsfield is one of the pioneer ski areas in New England (and the nation, for that matter), and is still going strong. Claire Bousquet opened his hillside pastures to skiing at the request of the Mount Greylock Ski Club in 1932. Bousquet was the first ski area in the world to offer night skiing (1936) and one of the first two resorts in the world to install snow making equipment (1956). Bousquet has a vertical drop of 750 feet, 21 trails almost evenly divided by ability level, two double chairs, and three surface lifts.

Otis Ridge in Otis, Mass., has a vertical drop of 400 feet, 11 trails, and five lifts.

As good, perhaps, as the skiing and riding, the Berkshires offer almost unlimited choice of New England B&Bs for lodging.

There are plenty of choices, as well, for cross-country skiers and snowshoers.

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