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“One of the best kept secrets of New England!”

Berkshire East Ski Resort
Ranked #5 of 15 things to do in Charlemont
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Berkshire East Ski Area, part of Berkshire East Mountain Resort, features great skiing on 42 trails, 4 aerial lifts, 2 surface lifts and about 1000' of vertical. We have a high quality snowmaking system operated with folks who know how to use it. 3 Lodges, a Children's Center, Ski and Snowboard School, a well regarded racing program, which are all powered by onsite renewable energy. We also are home to: 1) Berkshire East Canopy Tours 2) Berkshire Whitewater 3) The Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster 4) Thunder Mountain Bike Park 5) The Crazy Horse Bar and Grill, additional restaurant and meeting space, fully optimized for mountain weddings.
Useful Information: Stairs / lift, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children
Northampton, MA
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“One of the best kept secrets of New England!”
Reviewed 9 February 2013

As I have said before, I have been skiing New England for over 30 years. In that time I have seen a lot change. Mountains have become expensive and many have chosen to offer a “product” rather than an outdoor, athletic experience. Berkshire East is a true treasure. It is a mountain tucked away in the sad little town of Charlemont, which lacks the antique stores, restaurants, outlets, art venues, and the obnoxious tourists of the Great Barrington area. What it has is Thunder Mountain, a “steep & cheap,” large ski area which maintains the old New England charm that many of the region’s current resorts now lack. The owner, Roy, is almost always on site. The staff are professional, helpful, local, and dedicated. The instructors do a wonderful job. If you want to teach your kids how to ski – how to REALLY ski, they can do it at B-East via school programs or with any of a number of lesson packages.

What Berkshire East lacks is the grooming machines of the bigger resorts (odd that the trip-advisor pic shows such a meticulously-groomed trail—that is NOT the standard here). Do they groom? Sure. Do they do it better than the place did 15 years ago (when the local nickname was “Berkshire Ice”), Yes! But this mountain relies on nature more than most. In that way, it is similar to Mad River and Burke. It uses the natural structures and terrain of the mountain to make the place great. When there is natural snow, this mountain comes alive in a way that even some of the big mountains in New England do not.

At Berkshire East there are always people to ski with. This place has a higher percentage of expert skiers skiing it on any given day than just about any mountain in New England. If you really want to find out what makes this place special, go there and ski with a local. They will happily show you the ins and outs of the mountain. B-East is an “all mountain” experience. There is A LOT of off piste skiing here. There are also a lot of trails that the casual visitor may not notice or find easily without a local guide. The mountain boasts 400 ski-able acres (it has a lot more) and 1200 vertical feet (it may have a little less—I think they add a couple of feet measuring to the parking lot). It is the only ski resort in Massachusetts with tree skiing. Also, Berkshire East’s tree skiing is GREAT! Way better than Stratton, Okemo and most of the other southern New England resorts.

Another wonderful things about Berkshire East is that pass-holders get what pass-holders used to get a generation or two ago—a good deal and not cheated. A Berkshire East season pass is just that—a season’s pass! No black-out days, no mid-week only, no exceptions for school holidays and high-volume days. When you get a B-East pass it is good for EVERY DAY of the season, regardless. Also, if you buy it late in the season, you can ski the end of that season on next year’s pass. That’s an amazing bargain!

Berkshire East is really an expert’s mountain. If a trail is ski-able, it is open . They will leave a trail open with scrapes and ice, rocks, or natural hazards. They have windy, narrow, really steep terrain and some very humbling tree-ski areas (e.g., “the beast” and “tomahawk”). They also do not mark blues as blacks and greens as blues as many of the region’s resorts do these days. As a matter of fact, they were forced 2 years ago to change a “blue” tree trail to black for insurance reasons. Not too many places will ever label a tree-run as blue.

Lastly, B-East doesn’t try to gauge its patrons. The food is good, simple and priced reasonably. They have $1 Schlitz at the bar, too! The lodges are absolutely charming and the guests are not forced to check their belongings. There are plenty of hooks and storage areas to keep you backpacks and sacks without any fear of having anything lost or stolen.

Berkshire East is a true gem. It is well-known to some of the best skiers in the region and is place where you can do anything from taking a gentle, long, sloping slalom run to testing you mettle on steeply-pithced, densly-treed, rocky backwoods trail. Maybe it is a mistake to even post this review-- because one of the most amazing things about Berkshire East is that it truly is one of New England’s best-kept secrets.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
6 Thank skimd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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85 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
old lyme
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Best skiing in the Berkshires”
Reviewed 24 January 2013

This is by far the best ski are in the Berkshires! It is a great place to either ski steep runs {for western Mass} Or gentle long runs that snake around the mountain. Night skiing here is a blast and a great deal on saturday nights.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank oldlymeOldLyme
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Adams, Massachusetts
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“Secret Snow Pocket of Western MA!”
Reviewed 23 January 2013

Have been skiing at Berkshire East for about 7 years, 4 as a 'local'. This ski area is often overlooked by those zooming north to VT but is great value with lots of fun skiing to be had from cruising green circles to very steep black diamonds. Grooming and trail maintenance is very good, as well as snowmaking. But when it does snow the real stuff they let skiers have fun in it for a day before rolling it out! This is not a fancy resort --- but if you are looking for old school skiing this is your place.

Visited January 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Bark123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Belchertown, Massachusetts, United States
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Challenging Skiing Close to Home”
Reviewed 18 January 2013

Not a huge area but has enough variety and challenges to keep you occupied for a day. They groom well but come early before it skied off. Some great views from the top as well.

Visited February 2012
Helpful?
Thank Rob W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Westfield, Massachusetts
Level 6 Contributor
103 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Pleasant experience but felt like I stepped back in time.”
Reviewed 5 January 2013 via mobile

Just went tubing here with a group. It was fun and not expensive. Because we had a group it was only$12 each. The lodge area is old and not updated so it feels like you are back 30 years ago. The people working there are nice. The snacks and drinks are overpriced so bring your own. I can not comment on the skiing since I do not ski. I am not very brave so I liked the three available slide areas which are not too steep. We had all ages and everyone had fun . For the more daring, you may get bored. There is a conveyer type thing that brings you back up the hill which is neat.

Helpful?
2 Thank kelmel13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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