PITTSFIELD — The city's only ski mountain is for sale.
Bousquet owner Sherry Roberts, 63, said she is selling the ski area with an eye to retirement. Roberts said she has worked at the mountain for 26 years, and acquired it when her longtime life partner and former Bousquet owner, George Jervas, died about six years ago.
She said Jervas bought Bousquet in 1981.
"I was George Jervas' companion for 20 years," she said. "We worked and ran the ski area together."
Roberts said she is in no hurry to make the sale, as she would like to see it in proper hands, and the plan is to continue operations until that happens.
"We're taking our time," she said. "My commitment when George left was to keep the ski area running. My hope's that it will continue as a ski area."
The sale includes 155 acres across eight parcels, including the summit of Yokun Ridge, 22 trails, several structures and key equipment.
The Realtor marketing the property, Rich Aldrich of Stone House Properties, said a more detailed list of assets will come this spring.
"That's a lengthy list, and we're going to be adding to that after the season," he said.
He said the plan is to market the mountain in Berkshire County first, then move beyond the Berkshires this spring.
Roberts said Bousquet opened in 1932 and is one of the oldest ski areas in the country. She said that because of the local expertise the mountain found in General Electric, Bousquet was also able to outfit the mountain with lighting for nighttime skiing and snow-making.
Back when trains came from Grand Central Station in New York City to Pittsfield, Aldrich said, the ski train brought hordes of city dwellers to Bousquet for wintertime recreation.
"It's very much a Berkshire County landmark," he said. "It's an opportunity for someone to build on the decades of success Bousquet has enjoyed."
Cindy Bartlett, head of Bousquet's ski school, said that when she first started teaching there, as a teenager in the 1970s, she would take on busloads of 40 New Yorkers at a time. Those ski tours stopped coming in the 1980s, she said. That's when Jervas started tapping the all-season market and leaning more heavily on local families.
"The heart of our business is our local season pass holders, our race team kids, the local families who bring their kids here for lessons," she said.
Still, she said, "we need those tourism dollars. Any ski area does."
Bartlett said the mountain means a lot to local families, including hers.
"My kids grew up here, I met my husband here, and so it's a pretty important part of my life and my family's life," she said. "It would sort of take a piece of my heart if it wasn't a ski area."
Bartlett said Bousquet leaders are determined to continue providing recreation for local families, as Jervas intended.
"A lot of us here are committed to carrying on his legacy and keeping Bousquet accessible to the community," she said.
In the time it has served skiers in Berkshire County, the mountain has reared Olympic-caliber athletes, Aldrich said. It also has become an all-season destination over the past two decades with additions like the water park, go-karts, zip-lining and mountain biking.
Roberts said sweet opportunities on the mountain come in no short supply.
"I'm running some maple syrup lines as we speak," she said.
Amanda Drane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.