• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Berkshire East 12/20/20

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,549
Points
48
Location
Spencer, MA
Resort or Ski Area
Berkshire East
Date
Dec 20, 2020
Snow Conditions
  1. Chopped or Crud
I reserved an Indy day for today after reading Urungus's report from opening day on Thursday's powder day. He reported almost everything being open and the pictures looked great. My enthusiasm was toned way down after he reported the next day that they had roped off a lot of natural stuff. Their snow report is so bad that Vail would be proud, so with his report from Friday being the only knowledge I had of trail openings/closings, I headed out for a half day this afternoon.

I got on skis shortly after 12:30 and made my way through the maze for the Summit Quad. While it looked like a long line, it moved very fast and even the full maze only took about 3 minutes. Liftline looked sweet from above (and I've seen it open with WAY less coverage) but I was dismayed (expectedly) to indeed see it closed. However, I was met with a couple surprises upon arrival at the top - the upper part of Minnie Dole as well as Jug were open! I was glad to see at least some natural stuff open as I was expecting to just be skiing Big Chief and Outback over and over.

After skiing around for a bit, I was just as confused by the signs at the mountain as I was from reading the snow report on what was open and what wasn't. Some trails were flat out roped off (including Liftline and lower Minnie Dole), some had tripods set up with a "closed" sign (sometimes in the middle where you could see it, sometimes leaning against a tree), and some trails had a piece of bamboo with a picture of a skier crossed out (not even a "closed" sign, just a picture) that oftentimes were easily missed. Finally, some trails that were obviously supposed to be closed (BEAST!) had no rope, sign, or bamboo. That said, I'm sure I accidently skied some closed stuff today, but didn't duck any ropes.

The natural stuff was thin for sure, you could feel rocks under foot at almost every turn. Upper Jug was pretty sweet, although I have no idea what Lower Jug was doing open. Upper Competition (nothing indicating it was closed if you entered from the left) was pretty good, and lower was some nice cruising. Flying Cloud was real sweet...much less rocky than Competition but a couple waterbars halfway down to keep you on your toes. Between 2-3:15 it snowed hard and freshened everything up a bit. No glades were roped off, but they were overall in bad shape. Tomahawk and Blizzard Island were very rocky. Horace's Grove is kind of stupid, skied fine but just a flattish bike trail. Most doable one was East Glade which was more tracked and therefore more packed in. Groomers were a bit slick due to the large (for them) crowd and limited groomed terrain, but the snow squall freshened those up.

They had the secondary Summit Triple spinning through about 3:30 which was a treat. No line, no RFID gate, and those chairs on the Quad f*cking suck so it was nice to sit on a normal chair. The Quad is a bit faster, but for all the other reasons I stuck to the triple while it was open.

Not much else to say, other than this place is the most puzzling enigma of a ski area in existence. There is NO rhyme or reason to anything they do, but the terrain is real fun with fresh snow. I was so excited to go at first, then almost cancelled my reservation, but overall I'm glad I went and had a great afternoon. LOTS of traffic on 91 on the way home so pretty sure Vermont lost whatever quarantine control they had. Planning on Ragged Tuesday. Never been, but with Spear Mountain open au natural, sounds like a good time!
 

urungus

Active member
Joined
Dec 1, 2016
Messages
698
Points
28
Location
Western Mass
Hey Zand, good report, glad you had a good time, I was there on Sunday late afternoon and agree with your thoughts. Especially about how unreliable the snow report is and how they do a poor job of marking closed trails. I emailed their customer service a year or two ago to ask them to include the date/time on their snow report, which they did for about a week, then they reverted back to their old ways.

You definitely poached that run down Upper Comp, LOL. Like you, I was surprised to see the very top of Minnie Dole open, so I asked a ski patroller at their nearby shack if UMass, Grizzly, Upper Comp, etc were open and she said no, if you go down the very top of Minnie Dole, all the blacks are closed and you have to take Riva Ridge (the green traverse) over to the middle of Outback.

Think I poached Roy’s Way by mistake, it was only on my second arrival at the five-way split in Mohawk, that I saw one of those bamboo markers with tiny yellow slashed circle which seemed to indicate all the lower trails were closed. It it was all the way down near the entrance to the connector formerly known as “Big Chief Access” so I missed it when I turned right off Mohawk and went straight into the unmarked entrance to Roy’s Way.
 
Last edited:

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,549
Points
48
Location
Spencer, MA
The left entrance of Upper Comp had one of those tripods with the closed sign leaning against a tree out of the way, plus I saw other people on it.

I think if they had it set up like that, it was more of a "don't go down here unless you know what you doing" rather than a "stay the hell off or we'll pull your pass".
 

JimG.

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Oct 29, 2004
Messages
11,190
Points
63
Location
Hopewell Jct., NY
I think if they had it set up like that, it was more of a "don't go down here unless you know what you doing" rather than a "stay the hell off or we'll pull your pass".
This most likely.

A lot of "poaching" at Belleayre that was ignored this past weekend as well.
 
Top