The winter's first major snowstorm proved to be little more than an inconvenience for motorists, but a big boost for local ski areas.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, snowfall amounts ranged from about 6 inches in Alford, Williamstown and North Adams to a foot or more in Windsor and Otis.
While the bulk of the precipitation, which included some sleet and freezing rain at times, fell Wednesday night until just after daybreak on Thursday, light snow and showers lingered through late afternoon.
The storm's duration -- not the accumulation -- was the biggest challenge for municipal and state highway crews plowing, salting and sanding the roads.
"My crews have been out since 9 p.m. [Wednesday] night," said Williamstown's public works superintendent, Chris Lemoine. "It hasn't stopped snowing all day making it hard to keep up with snowfall."
Despite the slippery conditions throughout the Berkshires, local and state police report only minor traffic accidents mostly involving cars and trucks skidding off roads.
The significant snowfall was a welcome sight to skiers seeking fresh powder and the five Berkshire looking to boost their attendance for the second half of Christmas week.
"The timing couldn't be better. It's like getting a late Christmas present," said Sherry Roberts, general manager at Bousquet Ski Area in Pittsfield.
Roberts and other Berkshire ski area operators expected the natural snow to entice more people to their slopes through the weekend.
Mother Nature may even freshen up the slopes on Saturday as another, yet weaker, storm system is expected to produce some light snow.
To reach Dick Lindsay:
or (413) 496-6233.