The Berkshires Blog

Strap on Your Skis

Winter is quickly approaching here in the Berkshires. Some may say it has already arrived. With nightly temperatures dropping below freezing, it won’t be long before the lifts are turning, and skiers and snowboarders make their first fluffy turns down the trails. Not to be outdone by downhill skiing, the Berkshires offers cross-country skiers a plethora of outdoor fun as well.

From north to south, hundreds of miles of Nordic skiing trails on private and public land wind their way through tunnels of snow-covered conifers, between widely spaced hardwood glades, and across centuries-old farm fields. The Berkshires is truly a skiers’ destination and is among the closest to New York City – just over two and a half hours from Times Square. So, come and ski in the Berkshires this year. #skiMA

Even professional skiers love it here.

Photo Credit: Bay State Games

For downhill lovers here is the lineup for you

In the northeastern corner of the Berkshires lies the outdoor sports mecca, Charlemont, Massachusetts. Whether you’re looking for the challenge of fast and steep trails and technical grades or relaxing long cruisers and a variety of beginner terrain, Berkshire East delivers everything a skier could ask for. Be sure to check out their newly added trails as well as the longest mountain coaster in the US.

Jiminy offers a big mountain resort experience, in a quaint, New England setting. The base area, while offering everything you need (including a chocolate/coffee shop) never feels sprawling or overwhelming, and while it lies between the day-use parking lot and the lifts, the walk from your car to snow is often shorter than many ski areas that lack a base village. Whether you visit for the weekend or commit to with a season pass, you’ll be endlessly entertained by Jiminy’s big mountain experience.

On the edge of the Berkshires’ biggest city, Pittsfield, Bousquet gives locals and visitors a classic New England skiing experience at an extremely affordable rate. On any day or night, you’ll find packs of kids roaming every trail in classes, race programs, school programs and freeskiing. But Bousquet’s side of Yokun Ridge offers more than kid-friendly terrain – natural snow trails like Louise’s Folly and Icicles provide expert-favorite skiing when Mother Nature delivers the fluffy goods.

Two other Berkshire ski areas that you should add to your list are Catamount and Butternut.

Want to cross-country, check out these spots

With 22 kilometers of groomed and tracked trails, Canterbury Farm, high on the Berkshire plateau in Becket, offers a diverse trail system winding through meadows and forests, all centered around a classic Berkshire bed and breakfast. With an elevation of 1,700 feet, you’ll find a consistent snowpack throughout the winter as you ski and snowshoe past rocky brooks, peaceful ponds, scenic vistas and even pieces of area history.

Along scenic Route 7, Cranwell Resort grooms and maintains 10 kilometers of cross-country skiing trails encircling the historic resort in the town of Lenox. The trails all start at the resort’s Sloane’s Tavern and cross through mostly open terrain, which makes them perfect for beginner and intermediate Nordic skiers. Next to the tavern, you’ll find the rental center, where you can rent cross-country skis and snowshoes and purchase your trail pass.

One of the most unique Nordic skiing experiences in the Berkshires has to be skiing through the rows of apple trees at Hilltop Orchards in Richmond. With over six kilometers of groomed skate and classic trails, two trails were recently designed by Olympic biathlon skier, John Morton as well as over five kilometers of ungroomed woods road terrain and 200 acres in all to explore, Hilltop Orchards offers a little bit of everything.

On the eastern slopes of the Berkshires, Maple Corner Farm in Granville offers 20 kilometers of marked classic and skate Nordic skiing trails on a family farm which has been in operation since 1812. Start off at Maple Corner’s warming hut, complete with a woodstove, full-service rental area, lesson center and snack bar, fill up with a pile of fluffy pancakes topped with the farm’s own maple syrup.

Fun for the whole family.

Location: Notchview, Photo Credit: M Monkman

A Trustees of Reservations conservation property in Windsor, Notchview is home to both the largest cross-country skiing area in Massachusetts, and now the second best Nordic ski patrol in the United States, as voted by the National Ski Patrol. With over 3,000 acres to explore and 40 kilometers of Nordic trails (27 kilometers of groomed terrain) all at elevations of 2,000 feet or more, there is a seemingly endless amount of terrain and snow to explore.

For other cross-country options in Western MA be sure to visit http://www.xcskimass.com/

Follow your compass to the Berkshires this winter for skiing. It is close to home; really close to home if you are a Berkshire resident. Just one more reason life called so many of us to the Berkshires. No matter which ski area you choose in our quaint New England region you’ll find a new and unique experience that only winter in the Berkshires can deliver.