Berkshire East – January 16 2017

The snowpack in Western Mass took a big hit with the last round of rain. Then what was left froze when temps dipped down close to zero Saturday. Since Vermont got hit with the same mess I decided to keep it close to home. Been watching Berkshire East snow reports and apparently they managed not to lose any trails. Only one trail on the whole mountain closed if you're not counting the woods (I'm not).

Two trails if you count Lift Line. Is the Lift Line no longer a trail? Not listed on the trail reports, and riding up the lift I noticed they had removed the padding from the lift towers. Would be a shame if for some reason they won't open this even with sufficient natural snow, it's narrow and steep up top, sometimes developing even a bit of a drop-in, and has been home to the best mogul lines on the hill since I started skiing it something like 25 years ago.

Anyway, Jon Schaefer posted a video to Facebook over the weekend saying how they were making tons of snow and recovering well, with the mountain lit up in snow guns in the background.

Not to make this long-- we get there and the forecast is sunny and temps rising to the upper 30s.

First run was Big Chief ... groomed loose-ish granular, firm and fast, the sides of the trails had more loose stuff.. not bad
UMASS ... some of the nicer man made snow I've skied, and fresh! Very soft turns down UMASS, then the lower section was firmer and groomed. Upper Minnie Dole was a nice run with fresh man made to get over there too.
Grizzly ... groomed granular, kind of loose with mini cookies. Nobody's favorite conditions but a decent run.
Minnie Dole... same as Grizzly
Mohawk... skied really well, very turny trail and there was no hint of skidding out on the turns at speed, some fresh man made in various sections
Comp... upper comp had races on it, lower Comp was fantastic, fresh man made again, no hint of recent bad weather

And that basically runs the gamut. There was almost no ice on the hill, certainly zero boilerplate or frozen mess.

Speaks to Berkshire East really stepping up their game in recent years. These would be considered really good conditions at Berkshire East back in the day when it was kind of known as an icy mountain with slack snowmaking. Edge to edge coverage on every trail and zero rocks or bare patches to be seen.

They managed to keep a relatively consistent surface over the mountain, so you can rip it without worry about hitting some big ice patch or hit some icy grooming mistake. On top of that the surface was edgeable and sometimes even soft and playful. Well done.

Thought I took way more pictures but only this one is on my phone for some reason.. my wife on UMASS

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