The Schaefer family bought Catamount Ski Area just three months ago but already has grand plans for their second ski resort. The co-owners hope to bring the same success to Catamount the group did to Berkshire East, now a year-round destination that saw two new lifts since 2007. Catamount, which sits partly in Massachusetts and half way in New York, is eighty years old. Previous owners Tom Gilbert and Rich Edwards became unable to make the capital investments they knew they needed to. “To remain really competitive in the ski industry there’s many things that need to be done, and we’ve been trying over the years to raise some capital to do these projects,” Gilbert told the Berkshire Eagle in May following the sale announcement. “We realized we were not successful in raising capital and realized we needed to bring something in.” Berkshire East paid $650,000 for the mountain and retired Catamount’s $1.6 million in outstanding debt.
A new triple chair will soon improve the beginner experience on the Massachusetts side of the mountain. The lift is likely to be a 1987 Poma Alpha model which began its life in Vermont as Magic Mountain’s Sun Corner lift. Magic went dark only four years later and the triple flew south to Berkshire East, where it was the Summit lift. Skytrac replaced it with a quad in 2014 and the Poma has sat awaiting a new home ever since. Ironically, a used chairlift from Stratton will finally return lift service to Magic’s Sun Corner this fall after 27 years.
Catamount’s new 1,600′ lift will run up up the Esplanade trail. I suspect this will be a 2019 project but there’s a chance it could happen sooner. The triple will complement four existing lifts, which are two SLI doubles, a Thiokol triple from Solitude, Utah and a Garaventa CTEC quad relocated from Belleayre, New York. Catamount also plans to add a brand new 7,600 square foot lodge.