Press Release: 2017 Race Announcement

For Immediate Release:

THE 82nd ANNIVERSARY THUNDERBOLT SKI RACE

NEW FOR 2017: RETURN SPECTATOR-FRIENDLY DOWNHILL FORMAT AND THE GREYLOCK CUP CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP

On Saturday March 4, 2017, approximately one hundred intrepid backcountry skiers and snowboarders will ascend to the summit of Mount Greylock and then come schussing down the historic Thunderbolt Ski Trail. The Expert-Class A trail runs nearly two miles through the heavily forested slopes of Mount Greylock and presents the competitors with challenging drops, turns and terrain. With enough natural snow, the Thunderbolt Ski Runners will host the 82nd Anniversary Thunderbolt Ski Race. This year marks a return to the traditional downhill format, this spectator-friendly event is free for everyone who wishes to watch the race at the foot of the mountain near Greylock Glen in the town of Adams. After the race, everyone is encouraged to attend Thunderfest, for the awards ceremony. Thunderfest, presented by ProAdams, is a free winter festival in downtown Adams where guests can enjoy live music, warm food, and cold beverages.

The Thunderbolt Ski Trail was originally cleared down the precipitous east slope of Massachusetts’ highest point in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It quickly became known for the annual world-class race that attracted top skiers, including Olympians, from across the country and Europe. Even Nazi Germany sent a team to compete in 1938. With the advent of ski areas, the trail fell into disrepair in the 1950s until 2008 when a group of backcountry ski and snowboard enthusiasts formed the Thunderbolt Ski Runners. These hardy men and women took it upon themselves to restore the historic ski trail and revive the race. The run is 1.6 miles in length with a vertical drop of 2,050 feet and grades as steep as 35 degrees. The fastest known time down the trail is 2 minutes 8.6 seconds, set by Norwegian Olympian, Per Klippgen in 1948.

Modern racers reach the summit under their own power using climbing skins or snowshoes. At stake are three medals each in the following categories: Alpine, Telemark, Snowboard, The Ascent, Women’s Overall, Women’s Ascent. A King and Queen of the Mountain will be crowned for the fastest overall time. New for 2017 is the team category and the awarding of the first annual Greylock Cup. The Ski Runners is reviving the tradition where established skiing, outing, and college clubs competed for club honors. The club with the fastest cumulative time will be awarded the Greylock Cup.

Parking will be very limited. Spectators at the race are encouraged to take the free shuttle from Hoosac Street in downtown Adams. A hike of about 40 minutes is required to reach the finish line of the race or the Four Corners. Hot food and beverages will be available at the Four Corners.

For information about becoming a member, racing, volunteering, or sponsoring, please visit https://www.thunderboltskirunners.org, or contact Race Director, Matt Barlin, by email at mattyb@thunderboltskirunners.org.