If you ask any hardcore skier in the Northeast when the best time of year to hit the slopes is, they’ll quickly jump to exclaim, “March!” It’s no secret, but still the hundreds of thousands — even millions — of skiers who visit Northeastern ski areas in December, January, and February forget (or ignore) this illuminating tip.
For many, spring means they’re back to routines with school sports and weekend commitments, but the few who remain dedicated to snow as winter puffs its last cool breath are generously rewarded with empty trails, ticket and lodging deals, deep powder, blue skies, warmer days, and sunshine well after the lifts close. If you want to experience the best skiing and snowboarding of the year, make sure to take advantage of spring skiing in the Berkshires.
In the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, March is often the snowiest month of the year — a time when big storms are prone to produce epic snowfalls in the mountains. It’s a time of big smiles, where skiers and snowboarders bounce through bountiful, deep snow following a storm, and then relax in the warm sun.
As the calendar turns to April, the slopes become all but deserted, resorts offer their best deals of the season, and you see the smartest beginner skiers emerge to learn the sport under the most comfortable and forgiving conditions of the year. Take note: If you’re planning on learning to ski or snowboard, or hope to take a friend or family member for their first day out, there’s no better time to get them hooked than in late March or early April.
With the comfortable weather and the end of the season looming overhead, resorts burst into celebration in March and April. Events ranging from fun races to pond skimming fill up resorts’ calendars. These are some of the best:
March 12: Catamount Ski Area, Hillsdale, NY/South Egremont, MA – Mountain Dew Vertical Challenge. This is a classic, fun Giant Slalom race, open to skiers and snowboarders of all ages. There are tons of great prizes and the winners of each age group earn the opportunity to advance to the annual Vertical Challenge championship in April. If you like speed or just want to test your skills, this is a great opportunity to feel like an Olympian.
March 26 – 27: Jiminy Peak, Hancock, MA – Spring Fling. Two days of events, start with the Cardboard Box Derby, where participants build decorative cardboard sleds and race them down the slope, and Pond Skim, where participants use speed to skim the surface of a pond while on skis or a snowboard, on the 26th. Then Sunday the 27th, it’s all about racing as kids 4-7 get their chance to show their stuff in the annual Snoopy Race. Age 8-12 compete in the Jiminy Peaker Race. The Horse Race challenges teams of four and the Bikini Race lets any interested party get a tan while they race through the Giant Slalom gates.
Mid to late March: Bousquet Ski Area, Pittsfield, MA – St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, Lazer 99.3 & Coors Light Cardboard Carnival, and the Bousquet Bonfire. All three of these events take place depending on snow conditions, so make sure to check their site for the most accurate dates. The St. Patrick’s Day celebration features the Cookie Race, Obstacle Course, and Kid’s Cardboard Race all are open to children only. All ages can take part in the Slush Run (pond skim), Torchlight Parade, and Fireworks Show. The Cardboard Carnival is usually the following weekend and opens up the cardboard racing to adults (it gets pretty competitive). Then the mountain says goodbye to winter with their annual bonfire party — usually the last weekend of operation in April.
So this spring when your friends and neighbors start thinking about mowing the lawn, remember the best snow and biggest fun of the year are in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. Don’t miss skiing’s biggest secret — plan your trip now and make the most of what spring skiing in the Berkshires has to offer. We’ll have a burger and a beer waiting for you.