Winter can be daunting. The media loves to play up the next big snowstorm and convince you that you should stay inside until spring. But if you do stay in, you’ll miss out on all that’s going on outside this winter – all of the fun, excitement and new experiences you could be having. So dress warmly and get out there to discover all of the winter activities the Berkshires have to offer.
Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
From north to south the Berkshires offer diverse skiing and snowboarding experiences. If you haven’t tried skiing or snowboarding, or have just been away from the sports for a while, there’s no better time to get out there than this winter. Though the winter got a slow start here, the ski areas of the Berkshires have been piling up machine-made snow and have recently received back-to-back snow storms each of the past few weeks, making for perfect conditions for learning because the snow is soft and powdery.
As a beginner you can take advantage of one of the best deals in skiing and snowboarding – the “lift, lesson, rental” or LLR package. These include your lift ticket to access the trails, usually a 1 – 2 hour group lesson and rental equipment for the day. Some of these LLR packages are labeled as “first timers” packages and deliver even bigger savings, though they will limit you to the lower parts of the mountain (which is plenty of terrain for your first day out).
Catamount Ski Area in South Egremont offers both LLR and First Timers lessons for as little as $95 on weekdays. Catamount is so confident in their First Timers program that they guarantee you’ll learn to ski or ride on your first day, or your next lesson is free. And if there’s any doubt in whether a first day of skiing or riding at Catamount will lead to a love of winter – 31 years ago, this writer had his first day of skiing at Catamount and with 40+ days a year on snow, has never looked back! You can learn more about Catamount’s ski and snowboard lessons at CatamountSki.com. And no matter where you choose to learn to ski or snowboard, check out their First Timer’s page, filled with advice for your first time.
Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing
The Berkshires are blessed with thousands of miles of wooded and meadow trails that are great for hiking in the summer and become cross country skiing heaven in the winter. With recent snowfalls turning our forests into winter wonderlands, the cross country ski trails in the Berkshires are primed for your next adventure. Go at your own pace and discover the beauty of nature in the winter. If you’re a hiker, then cross country skiing and snowshoeing will be an especially easy crossover, where you can enjoy many of the same aspects, just in a different setting.
If you’re looking to try out cross country skiing there are nearly endless opportunities to discover a new winter sport in the Berkshires. Notchview in Windsor offers 11 km of beginner trails for cross country skiers, plus on-site rentals – perfect for first timers and those getting back into the sport. You’ll also find fun, rolling beginner terrain available at Canterbury Farm in Becket, Cranwell Resort in Lenox, Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, Maple Corner Farm in Granville, and even more destinations across western Massachusetts, which you can find on the Western Massachusetts Cross Country Ski Areas site.
For those who are still wary of whether they’ll enjoy the outdoors during the winter, ice fishing in the Berkshires is a smooth transition from the familiar indoors, to the unexplored winter outside. ice fishing can be as minimal as you want or include nearly all of the comforts of home, while giving you the opportunity to interact with nature. Charter The Berkshires offers ice fishing adventures, throughout Berkshire County, for all abilities. With rickety old shanties giving way to technologically advanced ice fishing tents, you’ll find the comfort and amenities of your own home out there on the ice. So for those who are truly unsure of outdoor winter activities, give ice fishing a try.
Don’t let the cold hold you hostage this year. There are plenty of opportunities to find fun and adventure outdoors in the snowy Berkshires this season, whether you’re a fan of cold activities, or a still little wary. From snow to ice, get out there and discover a new passion for winter. Here is a comprehensive list of Skiing and Winter Sports options in the Berkshires.