The Scoop

Winter 2012-2013 Preview

Jon Schaefer

The classic definition of insanity is...


The classic definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and to expect a different result.


So, after of last winters stinker, Berkshire East did the logical thing and massively updated our snowmaking system, thereby avoiding the insanity of repetition.


The improvements are highlighted by, but limited to, a new snow making pond, lots of new snow guns, a new grooming tractor, in line booster pumps, pitch improving trail work, and upgrades to our snow making pipe infrastructure are some the highlights of work accomplished this summer. What will this mean for you? Mother nature willing, these upgrades should mean more snow in shorter amounts of time. I could write a book about the effort put into these projects, but for you, the proof will be in the packed powder this winter and whether we can deliver the goods. I certainly think we can…


Beyond the above, Berkshire East staff spent a lot of time working on a lot of different things this summer including the zip lines, and establishing a public trail system in Charlemont. The zip line season was awesome and we certainly appreciated your business. We look forward to seeing you again in 2013.


The trail system (CTS) is something that is dear to me, as I have spent a lot of time building trails on the Berkshire East side of system, and at the Warfield House. These trails are new and challenging, but should break into a great trail system as time moves on. The best part of these trails was definitely a rainy evening in June, when 6 local kids, who otherwise wouldn’t have been mountain biking, asked me to show them the trails. That’s what its all about.


In the next few weeks, we will be monitoring the weather closely, if we get a good stretch of weather in late November I think we’ll turn the guns on. A few places have opened all ready, and though we got the temps to make snow earlier this week, we saw the 60 degree temps this weekend, and warm weather all next week and let discretion take the better part of valor.


This winter, I will be taking over the race program from Paul Putnam, who ran the program for a long time. Paul was successful at running an extremely successful program at Berkshire East and it will fall on me to continue in his footsteps. To this end, I have brought in a good friend of mine, Tyler Conrad, to help coach the older kids. Tyler lives in West Dover, VT, attended Burke and Middlebury (we raced there together), coached at Vail, and has spent the past few seasons at Snowbird / Alta. (I have a sneaking suspicion that he will be heading back west for late March, April, May) So look for Tyler around the mountain, he will be a great addition to Berkshire East, and I know you all will like him.


So we are very excited about the winter. The question is how will the winter be? My dad would tell you that he would know in April. I will tell you about what I have read, which is that we are in a weak El Nino, that the early indicators of the NAO trends (a trend usually predicted two weeks in advance, so who knows about the credence of this) is that it should be negative. This relates to a blocking pattern in the Northern Atlantic. I understand this to be one of the anomalies that ‘blocked’ Sandy back into the east coast. This is usually a good thing for snowstorms and cold air. I would ask that if you are not dreaming of a white Christmas, that you at least dream of a uniquely negative North Atlantic Oscillation pattern that will set us up for a good stretch of weather for snow making and accumulating levels of the natural stuff. Getting back on track, I have no clue what to expect, though logic would say its got to be better than last...


Sorry about having 6 months of writers block. Spring, summer and fall are just an extremely busy time for us, and not to mention, my wife and I, instead of having no responsibilities, are now playing Cover 1 defense at home.*


So this season is almost here, and I can’t wait to see all of you coming to the mountain, to hike, and to look around at all the new additions this summer. The ski sale is this morning, and I will be heading there shortly. See you there?


*i.e. we had a baby in June. I am in Pats mode, sorry for the football reference, the babies name is Reese, and she is a beautiful little girl… yes, she will be skiing in some form this winter, probably just in my arms.