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SkiNewEngland.net
 
The Catamount in 2015
Catamount
South Egremont, Massachusetts
Status: Open
First Season:1939-40
Vertical Drop:1000 feet
Standing Lifts:1 quad, 2 triples, 2 doubles, surface lifts
Past Lifts:2 doubles, surface lifts
Left: The Catamount in 2015
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
6/3/2019: Lift and Lodge Construction In Progress Across New England
3/28/2019: Catamount Announces Terrain Expansion
3/6/2019: Multi-Area Passes Growing in Popularity
2/15/2019: New Lifts Expected to Open This Weekend
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located on the northern face of Mt. Fray on the Massachusetts-New York border, Catamount is one of the oldest ski areas in New England.

World War II Era

Catamount's lift served skiing history dates back to either 1939 or 1940, when Jack Fisher cut trails on Mt. Fray. Catamount was in operation for the 1940-41 season with 3 rope tows, serving the lower mountain. While the new area quickly gained momentum, the onset of World War II halted its growth. As a result of the war, Catamount ceased operations circa 1943-45, while Fisher served as a flight instructor in Arizona.

Following the war, Catamount reopened for the 1945-46 season with 3 rope tows, 3 trails, and 2 slopes. Three more trails may have been added for 1946-47, spanning a reported 680 vertical feet.

By the time 1948-49 rolled around, Catamount's lift infrastructure had grown to 6 rope tows, totaling 1 mile in length. Meanwhile, Fisher opened nearby Jiminy Peak with two other investors.

Five more rope tows were added for 1949-50, giving Catamount the largest lift network in the East. Ten rope tows were advertised for the 1952-53 season, tying it with Bousquet at that point. To sweeten its appeal, Catamount offered free instruction to beginner skiers who purchased a lift ticket.

1957 brought Catamount's first T-Bar lift, as well as snowmaking. While visitation was not immediately boosted, well-timed snowfall in 1958-59 resulted in "skiers by the thousands in contrast to hundreds last year."

A second T-Bar was installed on the present day Holiday slope in 1960, serving novice terrain.

Catamount is a Chairlift Area

The Ridge Double circa the 1960s
The Ridge Double circa the 1960s

1961-62 was a big year in terms of ski area development in Massachusetts and Catamount. With new chairlift served ski areas popping up, Catamount expanded to keep up with the tide. The novice T-Bar lift installed one year earlier was extended, while a third T-Bar was likely installed serving today's Meadows area. The T-Bars were eclipsed by a new double chairlift, significantly expanding Catamount's vertical drop from 400 to 1,000 feet. Base facilities were also expanded to accommodate the influx of new skiers.

From a personnel perspective, Toni Matt, a well known name in skiing at the time, took over the Catamount ski school in 1961. The first known person to ski straight over the Mt. Washington Tuckerman Ravine headwall, Matt was a World War II 10th Mountain Division veteran and accomplished racer who had recently returned to skiing following a multi-year recovery from a shattered leg.

Catamount opened what it billed as the steepest trail in the Berkshires for the 1962-63 season, named Steeple. The trail was soon abandoned, presumably due to difficulty in keeping it covered.

Circa 1964, Jack Fisher sold his share in Jiminy Peak and focused on Catamount.

Catamount's next big improvement took place for the 1967-68 season, when the original T-Bar was replaced with an SLI double chairlift, while a new J-Bar served novice area was opened. In addition, snowmaking was expanded to the summit, prompting a "Catamount makes it to the top" advertising campaign. In spite of the modern investments, the base lodge was still a relic of the past, described by the Hartford Courant as leaving skiers "gripped with a pleasant nostalgia on the sight of the pebbled floor and rustic interior" and "void of any modern decor."

The advanced Wax Run trail was revamped for the 1968-69 season, providing a novice-intermediate route from the summit.

Around this time, Catamount was attempting to raise money by seeking $500, 20-year interest free notes from skiers in exchange for free skiing. Plans included relocating the base lodge toward the parking lot to make way for a new structure, as well as a new chairlift.

On the night of July 11, 1969, a Piper airplane crashed into a tree and then a chairlift at Catamount, killing the pilot and passenger. The young pilot had been practicing takeoffs and landings and had become lost.

For the 1971-72 season, a second SLI double chairlift was installed, running adjacent to the summit lift. Following this season, Toni Matt likely headed north to take over the Whiteface ski school. Longtime instructor Louise Kiefer took over the Catamount ski school at this time.

New Ownership

'Airless' snowmaking in the 1970s
'Airless' snowmaking in the 1970s

While Catamount had modern lifts and snowmaking, the poor 1972-73 season was too much for it to bear. In late January 1973, the stockholders of Catamount voted to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing $80,000 more in debt than assets. A contributing factor was the $200,000 chairlift installed for the prior season.

Catamount was acquired in the fall of 1973 by Bill Gilbert, Sandy Gilbert, and Don Edwards. The trio had managed Fahnestock ski area and Silvermine ski area and created Sterling Forest ski area. In addition, Gilbert was co-founder of Snow Machines International (which later became SMI). Following the sale, major work was conducted on Catamount's snowmaking system.

Night skiing in the 1970s
Night skiing in the 1970s

Circa the 1974-75 season, John Cain became manager of the ski area. Fresh off the terrible winter of 1973-74, Cain intended to add off-season fairs and chairlift rides. A mountain coaster was constructed in 1977 to further bolster off-season revenue streams.

For the 1977-78 season, the base lodge was rebuilt and snowmaking improved.

Work on snowmaking and trails continued into the 1980s. Circa 1984-85, a double chairlift was installed in the Meadows area, providing novices and intermediates with open slopes away from the steep expert runs on the main mountain.

Former Ski School Director Toni Matt passed away on May 17, 1989 at the age of 69.

Catamount's legendary double diamond Catapult trail was completed for the 1994-95 season.

The 2000s

Catamount in 2016
Catamount in 2016

Starting in the 2000s, Catamount began modernizing its lift infrastructure. Initial efforts were geared toward novices, as in 2003 the Pussycat J-Bar was replaced with a Magic Carpet. Two years later, the Mountain View double chairlift was replaced with the Meadows Triple chairlift.

Former Ski School Director Louise (Kiefer) Buyce passed away on May 27, 2003 at the age of 73.

In 2006, the 45 year old summit double chairlift was removed and replaced with a modern fixed grip quad chairlift, purchased from Belleayre ski area.

The Catamount Aerial Adventure Park debuted in 2009, featuring zip lines, bridges, and other canopy features.

Catamount founder Jack Fisher passed away on June 14, 2011 at the age of 97.

A new trail opened in January 2015, located off lower Sidewinder. A former trail name 'Fisher's Fluke' was brought back, honoring the founder and his wife.

Longtime owner Bill Gilbert passed away in January of 2016. While his son, Tom, along with Don Edwards' son Rich, continued to serve as President and Vice President of the ski area, they were unable to obtain capital. As a result, the area was put on the market in 2018.

New Ownership

A summer 2019 aerial view of Catamount
A summer 2019 aerial view of Catamount

In May 2018, the owners of Berkshire East acquired Catamount, retaining its management and workforce. According to Tom Gilbert, "Berkshire East was there with the same vision - and the capital that we didn't have - to bring us forward." The group immediately began a campaign of investment and replication ideas implemented at Berkshire East. For the 2018-19 season, snowmaking was improved, a refurbished triple chairlift installed, and the Berkshire Lodge renovated.

Construction projects continued in 2019, as a new lodge was built, zip lines constructed, and new trails cut.

NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
February85%    (1 report)85 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Feb. 12, 2016 by rocket21
Packed Powder, Frozen Granular
Catamount on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Lift and Lodge Construction In Progress Across New England - Jun. 3, 2019
Catamount Announces Terrain Expansion - Mar. 28, 2019
Multi-Area Passes Growing in Popularity - Mar. 6, 2019
New Lifts Expected to Open This Weekend - Feb. 15, 2019
Lift Construction Continues as Halfway Point of Season Approaches - Jan. 25, 2019
Lift Construction Continues Despite Birds and Snow - Nov. 18, 2018
Lodge Construction Projects in Progress Across New England - Oct. 2, 2018
Construction Underway for Catamount Chairlift - Sep. 9, 2018
Catamount Receives Town Permit for New Lift, Lodge - Aug. 22, 2018
Berkshire East Completes Acquisition of Catamount Ski Area - May. 19, 2018
Catamount NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Expansion History
Project
Season
West Area
Proposed
2010s

Image Gallery
1957-58 Eastern Ski Map1960-61 Eastern Ski Map1961-62 Eastern Ski Map1962-63 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Catamount Image Gallery

Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The bottom terminal (2016)
Catamount Double
SLI
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1967-68
The Glade Double in 2016
Glades Double
SLI
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1971-72
The bottom terminal (2016)
Meadows Triple
CTEC-Roebling
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2005-06
The base terminal (January 2019)
Promenade Triple
Poma
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2018-19
The Ridge Quad in 2014
Ridge Quad
Garaventa CTEC
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
2006-07

Past Lifts
Seasons
The Catamount T-Bar circa the early to mid 1960s
Catamount T-Bar

T-Bar
1957-58
-
1966-67
The Holiday T-Bar circa the 1960s
Holiday T-Bar
Hall
T-Bar
1960-61
-
Meadows T-Bar
Hall
T-Bar
1961-62
-
1980s
The Meadows/Mountain View Double in 2002
Mountain View Double
Roebling
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1984-85
-
2004-05
The J-Bar circa 1993
Pussycat J-Bar
Hall
J-Bar
1967-68
-
2002-03
The Ridge Double circa the 1960s
Ridge Double
Hall-Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1961-62
-
2005-06

Maps
1964-65 Catamount Trail Map1968-69 Catamount Trail Map1970-71 Catamount Trail Map1973-74 Catamount Trail Map1980s Catamount Trail Map1982-83 Catamount Trail Map
View All Catamount Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$74.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph$550.002018-19 Season Pass Price Graph7.4 daysDecember 8March 302018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$68.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$550.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph8.1 daysDecember 15April 12017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$66.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$510.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph7.7 daysDecember 15April 22016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$65.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$495.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph7.6 daysJanuary 3March 132015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$63.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$465.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph7.4 daysDecember 52014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$62.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$429.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph6.9 daysDecember 7March 292013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$61.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$429.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph7.0 daysDecember 15March 302012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$61.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$429.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph7.0 daysDecember 17March 182011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$59.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$419.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph7.1 daysDecember 112010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$58.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph2009-10 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 212009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$56.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$399.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph7.1 days2008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$52.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$379.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph7.3 days2007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$50.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$349.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph7.0 daysDecember 9110,0002006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$48.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$349.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph7.3 daysMarch 262005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$46.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$349.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph7.6 days2004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$45.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$349.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph7.8 days2003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$44.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph2002-03 Season Pass Price Graph110,0002002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-022001-02 Ticket Price Graph2001-02 Season Pass Price Graph90,0002001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$41.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price GraphApril 12000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$40.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph1999-00 Season Pass Price Graph1999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$39.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph1998-99 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 281998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-98$39.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph$530.001997-98 Season Pass Price Graph13.6 days1997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$35.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$33.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph1991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$32.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price Graph1990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$30.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph1989-90 Season Pass Price Graph1989-90 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$29.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph1988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$27.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1986-87$25.001986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph1986-87 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$18.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price Graph1982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-82$17.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price Graph1981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$15.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1979-80$13.001979-80 Ticket Price Graph1979-80 Season Pass Price Graph1979-80 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1973-74$9.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph$140.001973-74 Season Pass Price Graph15.6 days1973-74 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$8.001969-70 Ticket Price Graph$105.001969-70 Season Pass Price Graph13.1 days1969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1967-68$7.001967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$6.001964-65 Ticket Price Graph$85.001964-65 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 days1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1959-60$4.501959-60 Ticket Price Graph1959-60 Season Pass Price Graph1959-60 Skier Visit Graph
1950s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1958-59$4.001958-59 Ticket Price Graph1958-59 Season Pass Price Graph1958-59 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
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External Links
  • Catamount - official site
  • Last updated: August 1, 2019

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