Moving mountains: A look at Catamount Ski Resort's multimillion-dollar renovation

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EGREMONT — The new owners of Catamount Ski Resort are investing up to $5 million on additions and renovations at the recreational mountain.

Construction crews have been working 12-hour days, excavating and widening trails at the nearly 80-year-old resort. They've been blasting rock and installing snow-making equipment since Labor Day weekend, said Catamount co-owner Jon Schaefer who, along with his brother Jim, owns Berkshire East Mountain Resort in Charlemont and purchased Catamount in May for $3 million.

The primary construction goals include building a new multipurpose lodge, renovating an on-site lodge, adding trails and installing a new triple ski lift. The new ski lift could be operational, taking people up to a fresh trail at the top of the Promenade Triple summit this winter.

"We're tackling a lot of work, biting off a big chunk," Schaefer said. "We wanted people to see the work immediately. We didn't want to go into this winter without doing anything. This represents a real commitment to improving things for Catamount."

Schaefer said work will be ongoing during the winter ski season, but it shouldn't be intrusive to winter recreationalists.

Work underway includes:

- The new Promenade Triple lift line has been cleared, and the lift tower footings are being poured at the bottom of Colonel's Caper.

- A new trail is being installed that goes from the top of the Promenade Triple, then runs above Upper Promenade before heading east where it merges with Upper Promenade.

- Catamount's Berkshire Lodge got a new roof, and exterior walls are almost ready for fresh slats of cedar siding and stonework. The deck is being removed and replaced with fire pits and a patio. Interior painting is nearing completion just as the floor is being prepared for new rubber flooring. New furniture for the lodge is expected to arrive before Thanksgiving.

- The foundation for the new 7,400-square-foot base lodge has been completed. Contractors are waiting on the arrival of steel before pouring the floor and raising the exterior walls.

So far, Schafer said, things are running smoothly. Depending on the weather, Catamount could start making snow shortly after Thanksgiving using 80 new snow guns and five SMI Polecats — they look like huge snow-making canons — that are being installed around the resort. Owners also purchased two more grooming machines to keep the trails fresh.

"There's a lot of fine people working on this, local friends, people we've worked with for a long time and lot of Catamount staff as well," Schaefer said. "Our commitment is large, and we're investing heavily in the region."

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


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