Spring Skiing Blooms in the Berkshires
Speak to any skier or snowboarder long enough, or twist their arm hard enough and you’ll hear them confess that a sunny spring day is almost as good, or even on par with a powder day. At the very least they’ll be quick to tell you that spring is the best time to learn to ski or ride. Temperatures are warm, the snow is soft, the sun is shining, resorts fire up their outdoor BBQ’s and there are parties, beer specials, pond skims, ticket deals and smiles all around. The king of spring is known as corn – a perfect pellet of frozen and refrozen snow that results from a pattern of cold nights and warm days. And in the Berkshires, Catamount, Bousquet, Jiminy Peak and Berkshire East all celebrate the harvest of spring corn and the sun that grows it. The same breeze that powers Berkshire East’s wind turbine adds a refreshing coolness on the warmest days of spring skiing. With trails like Upper Competition delivering the high-speed groomed corn runs in the morning and Lift Line softening up into a bump-skier’s paradise in the afternoon, expert skiers will be craving a rest and a drink after a long day of summit runs in Charlemont. However, beginner skiers shouldn’t shy away. With a quad chair servicing almost exclusively beginner terrain (save for a single intermediate trail) the Wilderness Peak beginner area is one of the best places to learn or improve your skiing in the region (neighboring states included). Berkshire East has a series of weekly deals that continue through the spring, so check out their site for more information on spring hours and discounts. West on Route 2 and a few clicks south, you’ll find another wind turbine spinning and an equally wonderful pairing of steep expert terrain and quiet beginner trails that bloom with corn come late March and April. Dropping into the expert trail Jericho, wearing a T-shirt on a sunny spring day is one of my “must-do’s” for any outdoor adventurer in the Berkshires. With the soft spring snow, Jericho’s steepness lends itself to effortless turns that still leave your heart pumping at the bottom. For beginners, a top-to-bottom cruise down Left Bank will yield spectacular spring views, and as you turn the corner to parallel Hot Wheels Glade, you’ll have a life-affirming moment of “I need to get out and ski more!” Skiing and partying combine on March 22 with Jiminy’s Spring Fling event, which features the Cardboard Box Derby, the Bikini Slalom and the Pond Skimming Contest, plus music, food and fun. JiminyPeak.com for more info on spring skiing events and deals. Bousquet, oh Bousquet! If any ski area has spring skiing down to a science, it’s Bousquet. Whether you’re kicking back on the second-story deck above the bar, or skiing laps on their summit Yellow Chair, the transition of seasons turns one of the Berkshires’ smaller ski areas into a giant of fun. Bump runs for experts and beginner terrain that won’t tire first-timers, Bousquet continues to deliver spring fun with their St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on March 15, complete with Fireworks, and their own Cardboard Derby on March 22. Visit Bousquets.com for event details. Finally, there’s Catapult. Yes, we’re talking about ski areas, but the Catapult trail at Catamount Ski Area needs special consideration. When skiing spring corn, steep trails and bumps are where expert skiers find the most fun, and Catapult is the steepest and bumpiest of them all in the Berkshires. Truly a marquee trail, Catapult is worthy of a spring pilgrimage for every expert skier and rider within driving distance. Strap in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride! Catamount also delivers a wealth of beginner and intermediate terrain, so skiers and riders of every ability, including first-timers will find fun in the sun this spring. And with $20 tickets every Monday, 1000 vertical-foot spring turns can be found on a budget. While you may be excited for the warm months to come, don’t forget that the best time to ski is during March and April. Discover spring skiing and snowboarding in the Berkshires this season, but don’t forget the sunscreen and your hydrating beverage of choice.