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New Trail Clearing Underway at Berkshire East
New Trail Clearing Underway at Berkshire East
A new mountain face will eventually open as part of the multi-phase project.
Wednesday, April 19, 2017, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Berkshire East new trail clearing, April 16, 2017
Berkshire East new trail clearing, April 16, 2017

One of the largest approved terrain expansion projects in New England is now underway at Berkshire East, as trail clearing is taking place on a new mountain face.

As reported on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com in 2014, Berkshire East acquired 140 acres on the northern shoulder of Mt. Institute that March and received unanimous approval from the Charlemont Planning Board later that year to construct new trails and install a lift.

While trail clearing was initially expected to commence in 2015, the project was postponed in favor of constructing a large downhill mountain bike park, which opened that year. Minimal trail clearing took place in 2016.

In an April Facebook video, owner Jim Schaefer announced, "We're going to be adding trails, adding a lot of snowmaking, [and] we're going to add some other things that I think make this experience a better one."

In a 2016 Worcester Telegram interview, General Manager Jon Schaefer said, "Phase 1 will include a 2.5-mile beginner trail that wraps on the northeast side of the wind turbine, and continue around to the existing base area by way of a bridge under the Thunderbolt mountain coaster."

Berkshire East new trail clearing, April 16, 2017
Berkshire East new trail clearing, April 16, 2017

The mountain coaster bridge, April 16, 2017
The mountain coaster bridge, April 16, 2017

As of April 16, additional trail clearing has taken place near the top of the proposed new terrain, below the wind turbine and Mohawk ski trail.

The top terminal of the former Summit Triple, staged near the top of the new terrain, April 16, 2017
The top terminal of the former Summit Triple, staged near the top of the new terrain, April 16, 2017

At full build out, the new trail complex may be served by a refurbished and extended Summit Triple, a 1987 Poma chairlift that was placed in storage when it was replaced by a new SkyTrac quad in 2014. The new trails would descend from near the Mohawk ski trail to an area near South River Road, a vertical drop comparable to the main mountain.

Schaefer described the terrain as, "rolling intermediate, with beautiful natural features such as cliffs, steep glades with large trees and natural half pipes that we will leave in place to allow for some incredibly interesting skiing and riding."

The North Face of Berkshire East as seen from the Warfield House in December 2014
The North Face of Berkshire East as seen from the Warfield House in December 2014

A May 2014 Google Earth rendering of the North Face of Berkshire East
A May 2014 Google Earth rendering of the North Face of Berkshire East

The USGS topographic map of Berkshire East
The USGS topographic map of Berkshire East

The terrain expansion is the latest in a series of major investments made by the Schaefer family since fully acquiring the ski area in 2007. Berkshire East added a snow tubing area in 2007, a zip line operation in 2009, a wind turbine in 2011, a solar farm in 2012 and summit snowmaking pond in 2012, a lodge addition and pub in early 2014, a mountain coaster, summit quad chairlift, and the Warfield House Inn in late 2014, and the Thunder Mountain Bike Park in 2015.




Related Stories on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • Charlemont Passes Town Sales Tax on Berkshire East and Rafting Companies - June 12, 2016
  • Charlemont to Vote on Town Sales Tax on Berkshire East - May 22, 2016
  • Berkshire East Terrain Expansion Moving Forward - January 14, 2016
  • Beasts Open New Summer Attractions - June 30, 2015
  • Berkshire East Adds Downhill Mountain Biking and Whitewater Rafting in 2015 - April 10, 2015


  • More Information
  • Berkshire East Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
  • Berkshire East Mountain Resort on NewEnglandSkiHistory.com


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