Berkshire East Ski Area is located just off of Massachusetts Route 2 and is a prime area for New England ski vacation. Route 2 is now one of the most scenic highways in the United States, but began its life as the Mohawk Trail. Before western settlers came to New England, the Mohawk
Iroquois Native Americans dominated much of what is now
eastern New York State and traveled across the Berkshire Mountains of present-day
Massachusetts to collect tribute and trade with other
tribes. The route they used was the Mohawk Trail.
Berkshire East Ski Resort ("B-East", or
"the Beast" to locals) was founded in the
1950s as Thunder Mountain. With nearby Bousquet, Butternut Basin, and
Jiminy Peak, it is one of the few ski areas in the beautiful
Berkshire Mountains of western Massachusetts. Today Berkshire
East Ski Resort has 45 named runs on 400 acres of skiable
terrain served by five lifts.
Berkshire East ski trails are generally less crowded
than the mega-resorts in northern New England: Killington, Mount Snow,
among others. This makes Berkshire East Ski Area a great
place to learn how to ski or snowboard.
Young boarders and skiers can begin their carving on the Bobcat bunny slope, which has its own tow lift. Top Notch double chair, above the West lodge of the Berkshire East ski base, serves a larger introductory area. Next to this, a speedy quad chair takes riders over the wide-open Exhibition run, a gentle green trail perfectly suited to beginning carvers. From the summit lift, the long winding green Outback trail provides a novice route down Berkshire East's 1,200-foot vertical drop. Most of the green runs at Berkshire East Ski Area a lighted for night skiing.
Berkshire East Ski Area also has a good array of intermediate terrain, including the winding Mohawk and Big Chief runs and the wide Competition (the latter is often set up for slalom racing), but it is the steep extreme runs that have given the resort its moniker, "the Beast."
Three steep black runs come straight down Berkshire East Ski Area's main face: Liftline, Flying Cloud, and Upper Competition (the last two are lighted for night skiing). Several narrower chutes drop through the tree skiers' left off the summit lifts; the most extreme of these is the short steep Beast run. In good snow, advanced skiers and snowboarders can head into several well-spaced glade areas at Berkshire East Ski Area: East Glades, Blizzard Stand, and the steep Tomahawk run.
Berkshire East Ski Resort has invested heavily into its base area in recent years, adding an expanded West lodge and renovated slopeside condos. It has not developed to the same extent as some of the Vermont ski areas, but its convenient location 1.5 hours from Albany NY, 45 minutes from Amherst MA, and just 3 hours from Boston, make it a great place for a day or weekend ski trip.