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Thunderbolt Ski Museum Opens In Adams Visitor's Center

By Andy McKeever
iBerkshires Staff
02:32PM / Sunday, October 07, 2012
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Original Thunderbolt Ski Runners Steve Nowicki, 90, Art Bourdon, 89, Donald Linscott, 88, and George Verow, 93, cut the ribbon the new ski museum at the Adams Visitor's Center.
ADAMS, Mass. — The storied history of the Thunderbolt Ski Trail is now preserved in the Adams Visitor's Center.

The Thunderbolt Ski Runners cut the ribbon on the new museum that honors the trail down the east side of Mount Greylock. The Thunderbolt was home to the state championship in the 1930s and was considered one of the most difficult trails in the state.

The new display in the Adams Visitor's Center includes vintage skis, boots, clothing, pictures, film and awards from both the heyday of skiing in Adams to modern races held annually.

At the ceremony four skiers from the 1930s cut the ribbon: Steve Nowicki, 90, Art Bourdon, 89, Donald Linscott, 88, and George Verow, 93.

According to Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, the Thunderbolt Ski Runners have eyed creating the ski museum for a few years now. When the Berkshire Visitor's Bureau moved out of the center, they had a location.

"If anyone had the creditability to do this in Adams or anywhere, it was this group," Butler said of the idea that many thought would have been impossible.

The revitalization of the Thunderbolt race has "put Adams back on the map," Butler said, and the museum helps build on that history. There are only about half dozen or so ski museums in the country.

The Thunderbolt Ski Trail was originally cleared as a public works project. It quickly became known for the annual world-class race that attracted top skiers from across the country and Europe. The trail fell into disrepair after World War 2. In 2008, the Thunderbolt Ski Runners revived the race and the trail.

Of those 1930s downhill trails, the Thunderbolt is the only one that is still in the same state that it was then.

"The Thunderbolt is a time capsule. It truly is like going back in time," Blair Mahar, who headed the effort to not only bring the historic race back on the trail a few years ago but also the museum, said at Sunday's ribbon cutting. "Only the Thunderbolt exists as it did in the 1930s."
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