Berkshire East Owners to Buy Catamount
SAM Magazine—Pittsfield, Mass., May 7, 2018—The owners of Berkshire East Mountain Resort in western Massachusetts have reached an agreement to acquire nearby Catamount Ski Area. SAM reported in April that Catamount president Tom Gilbert and vice president Rich Edwards were actively seeking an investor, a joint venture partner, or a new owner/operator for the mountain. The deal is expected to close in the next two weeks. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Berkshire East owners Jon, brother Jim, and father Roy Schaefer will keep Catamount’s current management team that has owned the 79-year-old ski area since 1973. "We're assuming Catamount in its current state of operations," said Jon Schaefer when asked by the Berkshire Eagle if all of Catamount's current employees will be retained. The resort employs about 450 people during the winter months.
Catamount straddles the Massachusetts-New York state line—one of only four ski resorts in the country that is located in two different states. Edwards and Gilbert have been looking for ways to generate more revenue and also raise capital to make improvements to the resort for many years.
"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 said. "We realized we were not successful in raising capital and realized we needed to bring something in."
The Schaefers said they plan to start right away with some general improvements, which may include snowmaking upgrades and some coats of paint on Catamount’s structures. Larger upgrades and projects will be evaluated, namely the addition of the right mix of summer activities—something the Schaefers have done at Berkshire East over the last few years.
"Identifying [new summer activities] will be what has worked in the industry at other locations," Jon Schaefer said. “But then also what would work for the local communities."