The ski season is melting away, but there is still time to enjoy Thunderfest 2019, a celebration of the Thunderbolt Ski Run, known as New England’s own “Little Switzerland,” which once drew top skiers to the Berkshires from around the world.
The event, the Berkshires' biggest winter street fest, is held at the Adams Visitors Center, 3 Hoosac Street. It will he held out of doors regardless of the weather March 9th from 12-5PM. Visitors can enjoy live music, great food, local beers and wine, family fun, and outdoor recreation and craft vendors. Admission is free.
Attendees can also vote in the annual Chowder Competition, which starts at 1:30PM inside the Visitor Center.
In the 1930s and ’40s races down the Thunderbolt Ski Run attracted top skiers from the United States and Europe. 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) and quickly became known for its annual world-class race. The fastest known time down the trail is 2 minutes, 8.6 seconds, set by Norwegian Olympian Per Klippgen in 1948.
With the advent of ski areas, the trail fell into disrepair after World War II until 2008, when the Thunderbolt Ski Runners, a group of local backcountry ski and snowboard enthusiasts, restored the historic ski run and revived the race. The first modern Thunderbolt Ski Race was first held in 2010, on the 75th anniversary of the original. Today, the Thunderbolt is the last remaining Class A, backcountry ski trail.
As an added attraction, the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum will operate its Snow Train to recall the days when visitors were carried to Adams on special excursion trains to watch the races. The snow trains depart from its station just across from the visitors’ center.
During the 45-minute round trip, passengers can sit back, relax, and learn about the history of the Berkshire Ski Trains and the Thunderbolt Ski Run while admiring the snow-covered scenery (if mother nature permits). Food and drink from the festival will be permitted on the train.
ThunderFest Snow Trains depart at 11AM, noon, 1 and 2 PM.