Our Opinion: Revitalization brightens Bousquet's future

The owner of the Bousquet Mountain ski area in Pittsfield has purchased a nearby lakeside camp, and has an agreement to acquire the Berkshire West Athletic Club just across the street.

In these trying times that have put the squeeze on area businesses, it's heartening to see local developers investing in the success of Berkshire institutions like Bousquet Mountain.

Mill Town Capital, which bought Bousquet earlier this year, recently announced a slew of revitalizing efforts for one of New England's oldest ski areas. In addition to a new general manager, Bousquet will bolster its youth skiing program by bringing on former Olympic skier Krista Schmidinger. The ski area will get some grounds upgrades along with the new personnel, including a new chairlift, 25 more snow guns and an expansion of beginner-accessible areas.

These upgrades are slated to be completed in time for visitors to hit the slopes this winter, which will be a fun and safe activity for families to get out and pursue as coronavirus gathering strictures are likely to remain into the new year.

Ms. Schmidinger was eager to contribute to making her old stomping grounds the best ski area it can be. The Olympian's prowess on the powder first took off from Bousquet, where she skied while growing up in Lee. The former U.S. champion isn't the only skier to launch from Bousquet to the U.S. Ski Team. Ms. Schmidinger's sister Kim Jochl, a former World Cup racer, and three-time Olympian Heidi Voelker also spent their early careers taking advantage of Bousquet's programs and coaches.

That's a tradition worth preserving, and Mill Town Capital recognized that. The Pittsfield-based group also recently invested in the purchase of the struggling Pontoosuc Lake Country Club amid uncertainty about the golf course's future. That piqued the interest of local retired golf pro Bradley Benson, who in a recent letter to the editor expressed hope that Mill Town could inject similar rejuvenating energy into the locally treasured golf course as it did for Bousquet.

Youngsters looking to learn the ropes on the slopes and seasoned ski enthusiasts alike are fortunate that Ms. Schmidinger jumped at the opportunity to pay it forward. "It means a lot to me to return to Bousquet where my career began, and I hope to inspire and develop other young skiers as the mountain becomes a premier destination for outdoor recreation," she said in a statement after the plan was announced.

It means a lot to the local ski community, too, and Mill Town Capital deserves praise for investing in Bousquet Mountain to keep it a vital and sustainable resource of winter recreation for the Berkshire community.