ADAMS, Mass. — This winter's funky weather is forcing the Thunderbolt Ski Race to be postponed to Saturday, March 3.
The race, and an accompanying Thunderfest, were scheduled for Feb. 11, but rain and mild temperatures are forcing the historic race to wait for snow. It's a replay of the race's 75th anniversary — and its first run since 1948 — in 2010 when it was nearly canceled because of unseasonable temperatures. A couple of providential storms had skiers slushing down the side of Mount Greylock in March.
David Bissaillon of ProAdams, a local group spearheading Thunderfest, said the decision to postpone the race was made Wednesday night by the ski club.
"We were simply following their lead in terms of when their event is held," he said. "It gives us four more weeks and maybe we can get some snow but we will have the [festival] anyways."
Bissaillon said Thunderfest organizers are contacting vendors to let them know the change. But rain or snow, race or not, Thunderfest will be held on March 3. "It's coming together nicely," he said. "We're really excited about it."
The Thunderbolt Ski Race has been resurrected by the Thunderbolt Ski Runners club, which groomed and widened the old trail and sparked interest from skiers around the region. ProAdams joined with the ski club and the town Events Planning Committee to create a downtown event with a cook off, beer garden, music, activities and more.
The mild weather has also forced the Adams Outdoorsmen to cancel its annual fishing derby scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, because of thin ice.
Update 1:29 p.m.: Rewritten throughout and updated with quotes.
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Hear in lies the core problem with the creative economy (tourism) - it is inherently dependent on forces outside it's control. To base the entirety of a community's economy on such a system invites disaster.
Tying the Thunderbolt Race to the creative economy is preposterous. It's a stretch to even factor it in the tourist economy (something that existed long before factories closed and art galleries replaced them.). The race is basically a local, volunteer effort and any added tourist $ is a bonus, but not the point.
The big story here is the beauty of Mt. Greylock and what a wonderful resource it is to the community. The other story is the Thunderbolt Ski Club and the dedication of a group to preserving history and to the best use of natural resources. If you don't appreciate these things you need to live in the flat land for a while. :o)
I was actually referring to the festival and not the race (which officially ended in 1948 until the recent upstart) and is just one example of many. I'm not against the idea of a creative economy. I think it get far too much attention, funding, and energy from local government. It should make up a couple plays in the playbook but not be the entire offensive strategy.
To quote from Pro Adams
"We're beginning to reach out to the local business community," Bissaillon said. "We want to showcase our downtown businesses, our restaurants, our taverns."
"The Pro Adams group formed about a year ago and has taken it upon themselves to help market the town. It consists of about 10 volunteers."
I don't think ProAdams ever said they were going to single-handedly build the tourism economy of Northern Berkshire County. But, if over 1000 people are in town to watch a race at the mountain, what's the problem with having a downtown festival to keep those people in Adams for a few more hours? It's way better than having them get in their cars and drive away because there is nothing to do. And if it happens to showcase some local business and maybe even peaks someone's interest in the town, that's awesome. Even if it doesn't, it's a great event for the people of Adams to get out of their houses and go to. Why be so negative about an event that has potential to be really cool, regardless of what it may or may not do to the tourist economy? Go back to hanging out with Paula Melville.
Say what huh? can't quite follow your logic regarding the ski race or the event. It appears to be a combination volunteer and community and business supported effort to celebrate Adams; merely a few plays from the playbook.. I would say to your points, respectfully, huh huh?