Major renovations planned for Catamount Ski Area

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EGREMONT — Catamount Ski Area is planning major updates to the 80-year-old resort.

Owners recently received a special permit from the Planning Board to build a new multipurpose lodge, renovate an on-site lodge and install a new triple ski lift.

Plans filed with the town make good on the new owners' stated intention to reinvigorate the outdoor recreation spot. Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont finalized purchase of Catamount in May for about $3 million.

"Our experience at Berkshire East has proven that it is possible to transition a ski area in the Berkshires into a dynamic, adventure-based, four-season resort with world class mountain biking and zip lining, while featuring one of the longest mountain coasters in North America, white-water rafting, the top wedding venue according to 'Yankee Magazine,' and adventure park," said Berkshire East owner Jon Schaefer this year in a statement announcing the purchase.

"It is our intent to introduce most of these activities at Catamount within the next two years along with activities specifically tailored to the Berkshires."

It is unclear how much the new construction and renovations will cost. Berkshire East Mountain Resort co-owner Jon Schaefer did not return requests for comment Tuesday afternoon.

Catamount, 17 Nicholson Road, had to apply to Egremont for a special permit for the work because new construction will expand services offered at the ski area. Under town bylaw, "non-conforming structures" — buildings used for purposes that would not normally fit in with the area's zoning regulations — need to seek permission from the town before they expand services or operations.

With the new construction, Catamount is planning to host large events such as weddings and concerts — which is new for the ski area.

For the July public hearing, neighboring residents sent letters and emails of support for the plans to town officials, according to Egremont records. "The facility improvements requested will provide a facelift of existing structures and the new ski lift will be an easier transition for first time skiers," wrote Mark Roggen, of Second Street.

The new lodge planned for Catamount will be about 7,600 square feet and be used for ticket sales, ski rentals, lockers, restrooms, retail shops and seating.

The renovations for the existing lodge include a new roof and siding as well as interior updates.

The new ski lift will be installed near the Esplanade Trail in the section for beginner skiers. The 1987 Poma Triple ski lift will be 1,600 feet long.

Catamount is home to 385 acres, 1,000 feet of vertical over 100 acres of skiable terrain and an aerial adventure park.

Kristin Palpini can be reached at kpalpini@berkshireeagle.com, @kristinpalpini on Twitter, 413-629-4621.

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