PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A local private investment firm plans to buy Bousquet Mountain ski area.
Mill Town Capital announced Friday that it will partner with Charlemont's Berkshire East Mountain Resort to continue the Bousquet's 85-year legacy into the future.
"Bousquet is a pretty valuable outdoor recreational asset for the city of Pittsfield and we felt like we wanted to be part of that and continue that into the future," Tim Burke, Mill Town's CEO and managing director said.
Mill Town, which focuses on community impact in its investments, will purchase the resort from Tamarack Ski Nominee Trust and owners Sherry and PJ Roberts. The sale includes 155 acres across four parcels, including the summit of Yokun Ridge, 22 trails, multiple buildings, and operational equipment.
Mill Town also announced its collaboration agreement with Berkshire East and Catamount Ski Resort's management owners Jon and Jim Schaefer, who will advise Bousquet on capital and operational decisions and investments.
"We go into to every project we do with the best intentions and we know it is going to be a lot of work so that is why we want to create good partnerships with those know a lot about these things," Burke said. "We are the first to admit we are not experienced ski area operators but at the same time we are excited to give this a shot."
Bousquet will be a part of the "Berkshire Pass," joining Berkshire East and Catamount in Egremont, as the third mountain to be featured as part of this season-pass program.
"It makes sense to have them all linked," Burke said. "It gives skiers and riders a lot of options."
He said the Schaefers will enter the project with a "fresh set of eyes" and assess what they think can be improved.
"Hopefully we can improve the mountain as much as possible but I think first and foremost we have to ensure that it is a viable skiing asset," Burke said. "I think first we are going to focus on skiing, lifts, snowmaking, and improve what needs it."
The resort began when a ski club used the slopes of Clarence "Clare" Bousquet's farm in the early 1930s. Bousquet was quick to see the possibilities, installing the second rope tow in the country in 1935 and the first lights for night skiing. His slopes were soon overrun as thousands of New Yorkers took the snow trains to ski Bousquet Mountain every winter.
Burke said the mountain is optimally located between Boston and New York and has the potential to become a year-round destination.
"I think particularly in this day and age people are looking for places where they can go to have high-quality outdoor experiences and I think Bousquet has the ability to provide that year-round basis," he said. "If we can offer high-quality skiing and riding plus other outdoor activities like hiking and biking in the offseason and solid food and beverage program I think this can be a year-round destination."
Beyond this opportunity to draw tourists to the area, Burke noted the mountain is an important recreationial asset to residents.
"It is in the middle of a city in the middle of Berkshire County," he said. "So in the future there is the opportunity for tourism but in the meantime, we know this is a really valuable mountain to the local community."
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