Over the years that I have skied areas totaling over 127 around the world, I am sure that the total is even larger because I can’t remember all the names of the ones that I have skied in Europe.
On Sunday December 29th I visited another area to add to my list. Believe it or not it was right in my back yard. I am not sure why I have never gone there before but I am glad that I did. Usually when we go to ski we head to the north and the east to areas like Gore, Mount Snow, Killington, Bromley, whiteface and the like in New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. This time I went to the south and headed to the New YorkMassachusetts border to ski Catamount. The trip over was a bit depressing since when I left Clifton Park there was snow on the ground and when I got to The Mass Pike there wasn’t any, until I got to Catamount that is.
Catamount sits in the Berkshire Mountains with approximately 1000 feet vertical which is equal to other local ski areas such as Windham, Jiminy Peak and West Mountain. Each of these local areas is just about 1 hour from the capital district and an easy drive on relatively good roads.
Catamount seems to cater to the families who come over from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Southern New York State. There trail system is very nice with long trails (1.25miles) from the top for intermediates and a totally separate beginner area on the eastern side of the area. The snow cover was amazing for not seeing any snow on the way over to well groomed snow covered trails from top to bottom created from an good old snowmaking system which appears to have been around for quite awhile. About half of the mountains trails were open the others had no snow.
The temperature was above freezing so the trails were soft machine groomed corduroy the only problem we had was that at noon it started to rain but it did not put a damper on the skiing public though. It was predicted to see a change over later in the day. Not sure if it did after we had left?
Now, again this was holiday week and there was not a lift line more than 2 minutes at any point during the day. We were told by the courteous staff that even on the busiest day which would be 900 cars in the parking lot that the lift lines do not exceed 5 to 10 minutes. Now all their lifts ( a quad, a triple, 2 doubles and 2 magic carpets) are fixed grip slower type, there are no high speed chairs like you would find at a bigger area but with no lift line and a longer ride up. It’s not much different than a long lift line and a faster ride up. I welcome the slower ride since I can then give my legs a longer rest and actually ski longer into the afternoon
There are lots of local school children who frequent the area through the many school learn to ski programs and racing program on the mountain, which make this a great feeder area for kids to learn to love the sport of skiing. For more information about Catamount go to their website at www.catamountski.com
I certainly will return to Catamount especially when I see that some of these coastal storms don’t make it to the capital district but do hit the southern tier. (They usually get a total snowfall of 100 inches annually). Plus I forgot to purchase a pin and patch for my hat and coat!
photos by Mike Roth / Erica Johnson