Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mark Your Calendars! February 28th is the 80th Anniversary Thunderbolt Ski Race

Conditions in Massachusetts are "all-time" and this year's Thunderbolt Ski Race on Mount Greylock promises to be twice the challenge and twice the fun.

The race will begin with a mass start at the foot of Mount Greylock, the state’s tallest mountain, at 10 am on February 28.  Using climbing “skins” with alpine touring, telemark, or “splitboard” bindings, racers will ascend 2,400 vertical feet to the summit, then transition quickly to make their downhill run. In order to contend for medals and finished-based prizes, racers must complete two circuits of the route. A single-lap category is available for racers who want to challenge themselves against the mountain similarly to past races, and is also open to ascending on snowshoes.  Raffled prizes will be available to all participants in either the one- or two-lap categories.

 According to former Thunderbolt Ski Runners president and race director, Blair Mahar, “Any skier or racer who was capable of participating in the more traditional races we’ve held in the past five years is capable of completing the 2015 Rando race.” In the past, racers would ascend Mt. Greylock and have a rest in the Thunderbolt Ski Shelter before making their downhill run at one-minute intervals.  The new format will test racers ability to get UP and back DOWN as fast as they can. “The difference from last year's race is that the clock starts when you begin to climb the mountain and only stops when you get back down,” says Dave Childs, Director of the Thunderbolt Ski Patrol. But participants just out for a good time can still take a rest in the Thunderbolt Ski Shelter before descending.

Buses will run from downtown Adams, MA to the Greylock Glen for spectators who wish to cheer on the racers at the mass start, which also serves as the location for the transition between the two laps, and the finish. Spectators with snowshoes are also invited to hike up about 30 minutes to see the racers descend the ’Bolt at a steeper section of the mountain. Awards and results will be presented following the race downtown at the ThunderFest celebration.

About the Thunderbolt Ski Race

With origins dating back to the 1930s, the annual race at Mount Greylock attracts intrepid backcountry skiers and snowboarders to challenge themselves and each other on the Class A trail down the state's highest peak. Unlike ski races you've seen on television, there is no chair lift to the top. Participants make the trek up the mountain under their own power. Once at the top, they launch themselves down the steep, fast and narrow Thunderbolt Trail.

 The Thunderbolt Ski Trail was originally cleared down the precipitous east slope of Mount Greylock in the 1930s as a public works project of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). It quickly became known for the annual world-class race that attracted top skiers from across the country and Europe. The fastest known time down the trail is 2 minutes, 8.6 seconds, set by Norwegian Olympian, Per Klippgen in 1948.

Check out our video of the Thunderbolt Trail here:

For More Information

For Racers: http://www.thunderboltskirunners.org/2015_race

For Spectators:http://exploreadams.com/play/thunderfest

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