ThunderFest: Thunderbolt Ski Race adds cross-country, showshoe races

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ADAMS — It's coming up on Thunderbolt time again, and this year there will be three times the fun as organizers have expanded the event to include cross-country skiing and snowshoe races at Greylock Glen.

But first it has to snow.

"If we get some snow in the next week or two, I wouldn't be surprised if 100 racers showed up (to race the Thunderbolt Trail)," said Josh Chittenden, one of the race organizers. "But we really need Mother Nature to do us a favor here. Two good snow storms would be good to race on. But if we don't have snow. .."

Assuming there is ample snowfall by March 5-6, racing will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with the Thunderbolt Ski Runners' traditional 6.3-mile race up to the summit of Mount Greylock and back down to the base at Greylock Glen.

This event will mark the 81st anniversary of the first Thunderbolt Ski Run. The Thunderbolt Trail, with a roughly 2,000-foot vertical descent, is one of the only ski runs built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps that hasn't since been turned into a ski resort.

According to Chittenden, racers will be timed for their ascent, then timed on their descent, with the fastest racers being named King and Queen of the mountain. The climb up will take the top racers about 50 minutes and up to 10 minutes to get back down, he said.

The annual ThunderFest celebration is set at the Visitors Center in downtown Adams after the race. ThunderFest will be held even if lack of snow cancels the race.

Organized by ProAdams, ThunderFest will feature live music by well-known regional rockers the Rev Tor Band and Misty Blues. Several local vendors will offer a variety of food, local beer and wine, with the return of the popular chowder contest and the communal campfire.

Then on Sunday, March 6, two new races will start at 10 a.m. with ThunderTrek, a 5K snowshoe race organized by North Bennington-based Dion Snowshoes.

Owner Bob Dion said the company sponsors 100 different racing events, and he has already laid out the race course.

"It's at the base in the Glen, a lower easier section," he said.

Dion expects that if the weather cooperates, more than 100 snowshoers could turn out.

At noon, ThunderGlide, a 5/10K classic cross-country ski race, will begin.

ThunderGlide is organized by the Capital Region Nordic Alliance, a nonprofit group that provides programs for youths, adults and veterans with special needs and disabilities.

It may be a race, according to alliance President Russ Myer, but the focus is on fun.

"We're not stressing winning or losing," he said. "We see it as a community event where folks can get out in the winter and experience the joys of Nordic sports. If people want to come out and just walk or tour, all are welcome."

During Sunday's events at the Glen, there will be food, beverages, beer and wine, music and another campfire.

Contact Scott Stafford at 413-281-4622.

On the web ...

For information or to register: https://www.skireg.com/thunderboltskirunners


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