The AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge was designed to provide a method for our forum members to get official answers to skiing-related questions directly from a ski area representative. Jason Barrett, Marketing Coordinator of Catamount Ski Area in South Egremont, Massachusetts, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 7/2/2004:
Greg: During a 2000/2001 ski season visit, I noticed much of the snow surface at Catamount had a brownish-rust color to it. Some of the ice on the trees at the summit also had this discoloration. What causes this? Was there a problem with the snowmaking system?
Jason Barrett: This brownish rust color sometimes appears at the end of a good thaw. When the snow starts to melt it runs down the mountain and picks up silt from the ground. The silt turns the snow a rusty color in some spots. The snow making system and the brownish colors are not related.
Greg: Is Ski Butternut your primary competition? Have you considered working with them to offer a season pass that is honored at both mountains?
Jason Barrett: There has been discussion in the past about a joint season pass, but it most likely will not happen.
loafer89: I skied At Catamount on February 1, 2004, and the lift lines were quite long. Are there any plans to upgrade any of the chairlifts? Installing the Magic Carpet was a great move. My 4 year old son really enjoyed the lift and learned a lot from his instructor.
Jason Barrett: There is no doubt that the magic carpet was a great addition to the area. The carpet is allowing beginners to learn a faster rate, due to an increase in the amount of runs people are bale to take, due to the carpet. We do plan on installing a triple chair lift and a quad lift in the near future. Not this immediate season but the next.
ts01: In addition to the obvious chairlift question, I wonder if Catamount has any plans to improve its snowmaking capacity? Compared to Butternut, Catamount has clear advantages in terrain, crowds, and access (at least for NY-based day skiers). And Catamount also beats Jiminy in terms of crowds, access and expense. But on several occasions, I’ve decided to drive on to Butternut based on its real or perceived advantage in snowmaking and grooming (lesser concern). Other times, I’ve opted for Jiminy because the higher ticket price and extra drive time seemed justified by better conditions and a MUCH faster lift (six-pack). Given the weekend lift lines at Butternut and the extra drive-time to Jiminy, I’m not sure those were the right decisions. However, if snowmaking and lifts were improved, I’d stop sooner and ski Catamount more frequently.
Jason Barrett: We do have snowmaking on 100% of the terrain here at Catamount. Also, all trails are groomed prior to opening to provide pure corduroy and are re-groomed for night skiing.
Greg: Catamount straddles the Massachusetts/New York border. What is the “official” location? What percentage of the skiing terrain is in each state? Are there any interesting implications of doing business within two different states?
Jason Barrett: Catamount is located directly on the border of New York and Massachusetts, however the majority of the terrain is on the Mass. side.
teach ski; Being a teacher, it is very hard, if not impossible for me to get to a ski area mid-week, yet all special discounts seem to take place during the mid-week. School vacations are usually blacked out from these discounts and specials. Have you ever thought of having a couple teacher appreciation days through out the season, including one or two during the normally blacked out school vacations?
Jason Barrett: We have had a few teacher appreciation days in the past, but they weren’t the hit we thought they would be. We do now have discounts for all Massachusetts Teachers Association members valid any day that we are open.
sledhaulingmedic: I asked a NY lift inspector whether any of your lifts straddled the State Line and if that was the case, who did you have to answer to? (S)he mentioned that no lifts crossed the boundary. Is that really the case?
Jason Barrett: Yes in deed that is the case. We do have trails that are in both states, but no lifts.
Greg: Are there any terrain expansion plans for the 2004/2005 ski season?
Jason Barrett: The summer crew has been hard at work clearing land for a new beginner trail that will run from top to bottom. This will be the longest beginner trail in the Berkshire region. Beginners now will have a long cruiser trail stretching from the summit to base that is unlike any other beginner trail in the entire Berkshires. We are also once again expanding the Megaplex, and moving it as well. The park will now be located on the old race course on Nastar.
Greg: Are there any other infrastructure improvements/upgrades planned, e.g. base/summit facilities, etc.?
Jason Barrett: We are also working hard to improve the base facilities here at Catamount. We will be constructing a new load and drop off area, as well as improving structural facilities at the base.
Greg: Do you have any plans to open a forum or chat room on your website? Do you read web forums like AlpineZone.com? If so, do you ever want to reply to posts about Catamount or other ski areas?
Jason Barrett: Opening up a chat room on the website is an interesting idea. As a matter of fact that will be heavily discussed during the summer operations meetings.