With one to two feet of fresh snow on the ground after this week’s winter storm, Berkshire County ski areas say they’ll be able to do something they couldn’t do this time last winter: stay open. While there has been more snow this ski season, business on the slopes has still been something of a mixed bag.
At Bousquet Mountain in Pittsfield, Sherry Roberts said they haven’t set any records, but business has been steady this season. And boy did they need it.
“Truly, this year saved Bousquet,” Roberts said. “Being a small, family-run mountain, it’s hard to get through years like last year. With Mother Nature and loyal customers on our side, we made it through another year.”
Just like Bousquet, many ski areas took it on the chin last season across Massachusetts, with lift ticket sales down 38 percent, due largely to unusually mild weather. And this year, temperatures in the 50s and 60s during the critical February school vacation week hampered business at Ski Butternut in Great Barrington.
“It kind of went south,” said Matt Sawyer, marketing director at Ski Butternut. “Tuesday through the rest of that week did not have the normal amount of people on the mountain… It’s all on account of the weather; things either got warm or got wet.”
Sawyer said it’s been a roller coaster sort of a winter for Ski Butternut. It’s been a similar story at Jiminy Peak in Hancock. CEO Tyler Fairbank said he’s hoping for a late-season push since it snowed this week in many places where the mountain’s patrons live.
“That’s going to keep people from going on their mountain bike or playing golf or whatever,” Fairbank said. “It really has the potential to infuse more skier visits into the balance of the season, and really help make it a better season.”
And Fairbank said he hopes the forecast of cold temperatures will help keep snow on the slopes well into April.