What is the Berkshire Express and how fast does it go?
Although the Berkshire Express carries thousands of passengers less than a mile per ride, its patrons love it. It is a high-speed, six-pack chairlift at the popular Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort in Hancock. When the Express opened in 2001, it immediately cut lift time by more than one-half, whisking skiers to the summit of Potter Mountain, a rise of 1,150 feet above the base, in about five minutes. A travel writer likened it to riding your living room couch to the top, also marveling at the ease of getting on and off the lift.
If the weather works in Jiminy’s favor, 225,000 skiers and snowboarders will descend upon the resort this winter, according to director of marketing Katie Fogel. She is hoping for ideal conditions: snow in early or midweek, cold temperatures for snow making, and then comfortable weekend weather when crowds are at their largest. With 45 trails on 167 acres, Jiminy Peak holds the title of southern New England’s largest ski resort, and the Berkshire Express is its centerpiece.
Always an innovator, the resort spent $2.2 million to install the Berkshire Express. Then in 2007, Jiminy became the first private business in America to invest in its own megawatt wind turbine, which now provides more than one-third of the resort’s electrical needs.
Skiers on the mountain this year will notice that the improvements continue, with brighter LED lights for night skiing and a new summit reservoir which increases the resort’s already ample snow making capabilities with gravity feed.