The Schaefer family, owners of Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Mass., and Catamount Mountain Resort on the Massachusetts/New York border, has purchased Zoar Outdoor, a Charlemont, Mass., -based recreation company, located just up the road from Berkshire East.
Zoar Outdoor was founded and managed by husband and wife team Bruce Lessels and Karen Blom. The couple’s desire to retire was the driving force for the sale. However, they will maintain a small ownership stake in Zoar, which offers whitewater rafting, kayaking, and a zip line canopy tour with 11 zip lines, two sky bridges, and three rappels. The property also has onsite lodging.
Nearby Berkshire East also offers zip line tours and whitewater rafting, among other warm-weather activities and attractions, in addition to skiing and snowboarding in winter.
According to reports, no significant changes will be made, for now. Both companies will maintain their unique branding and each will continue to offer the same menu of activities. There may be changes in the future as both companies now offer competing programs in whitewater rafting and zip line activities. According to company co-owner and Berkshire East general manager Jon Schaefer, the programs will not compete as they are now “sister” companies.
“We have shared experiences and each has a history with the community,” said Schaeffer. “It’s just such a natural fit.”
One proposed plan is to offer multi-use passes, allowing customers to buy a pass to use at Berkshire East, Zoar, or Catamount.
Management of Zoar will be overseen by company veteran Kevin McMillan, who was most recently the director of guided programs. The rest of the Zoar management structure will remain unchanged.