Skiing in Western Mass

The best places to strap on your skis

Winter isn’t coming – it’s here. And sure, you can head to the nearest heat source, bundle up, and drink spiced concoctions. But a particularly good way to earn that wintry reward is to embrace all the season has to offer. It is, after all, the only season in which you can slide around on the landscape on a couple of boards.



Our modest mountains may not rival the Matterhorn, but Western Mass has had its share of Alpine ski destinations over the years, and though the number is smaller these days, the skiing is still first class. Mount Tom’s skiing is long-gone, and Ski Blandford shut down, apparently permanently, in the pandemic. That leaves Berkshire East, aka the Beast.

It’s not as big as its Vermont cousins, but don’t overlook the Beast. It’s a sizeable mountain at 1840 feet, with enough trails (45) to keep you happily speeding downhill, and has its share of black-diamond runs. Head to Berkshire East, and all you’ll miss is the crowds of more northerly destinations. You can take ski lessons, enjoy snow tubing, grab a bite, and have a full and varied day on the slopes. Uniquely among ski resorts, its lights, snowmaking, and lodges are powered entirely by solar and wind (you’ll see the massive turbine!).

Our rolling hills are quite amenable to Alpine skiing’s robust Nordic cousin, and some of the trails that are a pleasure to explore in the warmer months become snowy wonderlands for the cross-country skiier in winter. In Franklin County, you’ll find Northfield Mountain (in Northfield, naturally), criss-crossed with a network of trails for Nordic exploration. It’s got around 25 miles of skiing, and six miles for snowshoeing. It’s at the top of our Franklin County list, because you can also rent equipment or take lessons (the latter might not seem necessary in this straightforward sport, but can’t hurt, given that downhill stretches are common). For a more casual outing, check out Cherry Hill Golf Course in Amherst. Paths along the course connect to both the Mill River Conservation Trails and the 42 mile Robert Frost Trail System.

Many state properties across Hampshire and Franklin counties welcome cross-country skiiers – those pleasant hiking trails turn to scenic ski corridors. There are a lot of fine choices, but among the most noteworthy are Wendell State Forest(for its sheer size), and out on the western edge of Hampshire County, Notchview. Notchview, like Northfield, caters particularly to Nordic skiiers, with many miles to explore, and rentals and lessons, too.

Go back