ADAMS — With ski culture popular and flourishing at Mount Greylock, the town is coordinating with Thunderbolt Trail skiing enthusiasts to create a new centerpiece at its premiere venue.
The Thunderbolt Ski Runners are engaged in organizing a Thunderbolt and town history mecca at the Adams Visitors Center to replace the current array that’s been there since the center’s opening in 2004.
What’s going to make the cut? Many, many things, according to Ski Runner Blair Mahar.
Vintage skis, boots, clothing — all donned by fully-costumed Thunderbolt ski mannequins — pictures, film clips, awards, pins, group seals, documents, World War II items and other memorabilia are all included.
“Some of these items have unbelievable stories,” Mahar said. “From the 10th Mountain Division [during World War II] in Italy to Civilian Conservation Corps photos and memorabilia from their archives.”
The Thunderbolt Ski Trail was cut by the 107th Civilian Conservation Corps in 1934. The next year saw the first race there, won by Dartmouth racer Dick Durrance.
Mahar says after the group received the go-ahead for the display from Town Administrator Jonathan Butler, they began reaching out to museums across the nation for Thunderbolt gear.
Now, after months of “scouring” the area and elsewhere — hitting paydirt with one New Hampshire museum and coordinating with others as far out as Colorado to organize item loan agreements — the Ski Runners are near ready to begin putting together a gallery.
Alec Gillman, the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s visitors service supervisor at Mount Greylock, will assist the group by blowing up old photographs to museum quality posters.
“We’ll be providing photographic information and material concerning the CCC and the building of the Thunderbolt Trail in 1934,” Gillman said. “It’s part of our responsibilities to help with local exhibits, and fortunately we have archival scanners to improve some of the images they want improved.”
This scanner technology will turn old snapshots into full-quality, 2,400-dots-per-inch prints.
In terms of a timeline, Mahar said, “We’re hoping and the town is hoping to get this done by mid-September for a loose unveiling, and then a major showing during an event the town is planning surrounding the Ramble [in October].”
Between then and now, the Ski Runners encourage additional donations from residents to build upon the already impressive body of material.
“We’re hoping to generate some interest in town and get the word out. Maybe people will start turning up things from out of the woodwork in their attics and basements,” Mahar said.