Berkshire, Vermont ski areas enjoy healthy crowds in storm’s wake


Driving was dubious, shoveling a bane, but the skiing and snowboarding was glorious.

This week’s snowstorm was a boon for local ski areas, with widespread school closings delivering healthy crowds.

"The snow helped out fantastically," said Cindy Bartlett, a ski instructor at Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield. "You can tell the difference between the man-made and the natural snow -- it’s always better with the natural. (Friday) it’s been absolutely amazing."

Bartlett said skiers and riders hit 10 of the mountain’s 23 trails on Friday. If cold weather holds out through the weekend and the mountain is able to produce more snow, she added, the rest could open as well.

At Jiminy Peak in Hancock, 8 inches of fresh powder topped a pre-existing 15- to 36-inch base, according to the mountain’s daily snow report. Of Jiminy’s 45 trails, 36 were open Friday to daytime visitors and 22 to night visitors.

Nearby in Charlemont, Berkshire East opened all of its 36 trails, according to Christopher Loftus, the mountain’s marketing director.

Those who braved the hills had to bundle up, as wind chill contributed to an already frigid day whose high was just 6 degrees.

North of Massachusetts in Vermont, where many area skiers frequent mountains such as Okemo in Ludlow and Killington, temperatures were still colder, never topping zero in some areas.

According to the Vermont Ski Areas Association, the new snow helped the state’s resorts open 100 new trails. Nearly 70 percent of Vermont’s downhill ski terrain is now open.

But area mountains had their eyes on Monday, when seasonally warm weather is expected to return with temperatures in the 40s.

"We’ll have to wait and see," said Bartlett. "It’d be nice to have a full snow event without rain on either side of it, like what’s been happening lately."

To reach Phil Demers:

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On Twitter: @BE_PhilD


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