Field Trip Friday: Berkshire East


Berkshire East in Charlemont is well known as a premier ski resort in western Massachusetts.

What you may not know is that it's also a great warm weather resort.

With summer officially arriving next week, you are probably looking for ways to spend as much time in the outdoors as possible.

Maybe you are feeling a little adventurous and are looking for some ways to try and beat the summer heat.

Well, there just happens to be a place in western Massachusetts that offers activities designed to do one if not both.

A great way to beat the summer heat is by going white water rafting. At Berkshire East, it's an adventure they offer from April through the beginning of October, with something for all ages and abilities.

"We start with a float trip. It can be as young as age 5. For families that just want to get out, experience a great afternoon on the river, relax and have some small white water, that's fun for the kids, but not too exciting. The most popular trip is the Fife Brook trip. That starts at age 7 and up. Great for families, fun white water, but is a good entry level for those that want to get into white water rafting," said Gabriel Porter-Henry with Berkshire East.

Western Mass News found if you are looking for more of a challenge on the river, there's something here for you too.

"The dryway/Monroe Bridge section...that's a class III, IV, exciting, full on white water trip," Porter-Henry added.

However, what if you are looking to stay dry, without sacrificing on the thrills. How about taking a ride on the Thunderbolt mountain coaster.

The Thunderbolt takes riders up 1,580 feet of up-track through the forest before the cart disengages and then gravity takes over.

The 3,870 feet of downhill track offers swooping turns, banked corners, rolling drops, and 360 degree turns.

"When we built it, it was North America's longest mountain coaster. It starts at age 3 for riders and drivers have to be at least age 9. If you've never seen a mountain coaster before, it's very similar to a mix between a roller coaster and alpine slide," Porter-Henry explained.

Unlike a typical roller coaster though, you can control how fast or how slow you go, making for a unique experience.

"You have brakes. If you want to slow yourself down and go the speed you're comfortable at, you can do that. If you want to hammer those brakes down and go full speed ahead, then by all means, you can do that," Porter-Henry noted.

If you are going to hammer those brakes down, be prepared.

"You can get up to a couple of G's though on those corners," Porter-Henry said.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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