Monday August 20, 2012

ADAMS -- The Thunderbolt Ski Runners are seeking unique Thunderbolt Trail-related items for a display in the Adams Visitors Center.

The Town of Adams and The Thunderbolt Ski Runners have partnered since 2009 to bring the popular Thunderbolt Downhill Ski Race to the snowy slopes of Mt. Greylock.

The Ski Runners, which formed in 2008 and runs the popular Thunderbolt Downhill Ski Race on Mount Greylock, is teaming up with the town of Adams to create a Thunderbolt-themed installation to the visitors center on Hoosac Street.

If any community members would like to donate items such as skis, pictures, film, ski gear or clothing, or anything related to the Thunderbolt and the 10th Mountain Division, they are asked to contact Blair Mahar at (413) 743-8969 or blairmahar@thunderboltskirunners.org.

The installation will include vintage skis, boots, clothing, pictures, film, awards, memorabilia, and ephemera from 1930s and ‘40s, the heyday of skiing in Adams, which was then referred to as "Little Switzerland."

Displayed with the Thunderbolt collection will be various items from the famed 10th Mountain Division, the 107th Company of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Thunderbolt Ski Patrol. The Thunderbolt Ski Runners are working with a handful of ski museums across the country to bring rare and one-of-a-kind Thunderbolt items back to the Berkshires for a fall unveil.

The Thunderbolt was built by the 107th CCC in 1934 and the first race, won by famous Dartmouth racer Dick Durrance, was held on Feb. 20, 1935.

Races continued on the Thunderbolt throughout the 1930s and into the early 1940s. During WWII, many young local boys who learned to ski on the Thunderbolt went off to fight in Italy with the 10th Mountain Division.

Williams College held a handful of collegiate races on the Thunderbolt into the mid-1960’s, but with the increased popularity of skiing at lift-served ski areas like Jiminy Beak, Brodie Mountain, and Bosquet, the heyday of skiing on the Thunderbolt was largely over. Today, skiing on the Thunderbolt is as popular as ever, to the extent that the National Ski Patrol now has an official presence on the mountain for the first time in history.