February 20th was supposed to have been the long awaited and much anticipated 75th Anniversary Thunderbolt Ski Race. Obviously snow conditions made the race impossible to hold. But the trail was skiable, and TSR club members gathered on the mountain to at least celebrate the day and the trail with what has become know as the Thunderbolt Cafe. We all brought food for the barbeque and our rock skis, and spent the day at the base of the Big Schuss enjoying some pretty decent skiing and some decent food. We met some of the volunteers who were coming for the race and who came anyway. Stanley Kopala showed up. He was schussing the Thunderbolt before all of us were even born. That was pretty cool. And we had some Thunderbolt royalty with as as well. Club member Robin Avery hung out for a while after taking a run. Her father, Bill Linscott, won the 1942 Massachusetts State Downhill Championship race on the Thunderbolt.
Flying in From Bozeman Montana last week was one of our racers by the name of Andy Disanti. Andy is a North Adams native and came back to test his skills against the other 119 racers. He was locked into his plans to come back East for the week. So, despite the fact that the race was postponed, he came anyway, and he even brought his own trophy to show the folks back in Bozeman how he did!
Andy with his 1st place trophy on the summit of Mt. Greylock
Also flying in for the race was a guy we met by the name of Sven Torgensen. Sven is a luge star back in Sweden, and came all the way to the U.S. just for the Thunderbolt race. He brought his own gear with him and spent the day on the mountain enjoying the skiing, the food, and his new friends. When asked why he came all the way over to ski the Thunderbolt he replied, "Well, when I heard that a Norwegian holds the record on the Thunderbolt, I just had to come over and see if I could break it. Swedes and Norwegians don’t get along, and I wanted to break the record in the name of my country and all things Swedish….Saab, meatballs, and ABBA."
A happy Sven Torgensen at the base of the Big Schuss
More pics from the Thunderbolt Cafe…
TSR member Tim Herrmann hikes up the Schuss with Sven’s skis to "give ’em a try!"
TSR member John Armstrong on his split-boards
TSR members Josh Chittenden and Aaron Girgenti ascend the Thunderbolt
TSR members Tim Herrmann and Blair Mahar before their run down the ’Bolt
TSR members Rich Adamczyk and Josh Chittenden ascend the Thunderbolt
TSR member Blair Mahar catches a little air on the Big Schuss
Our new friend from Sweden, Sven Torgensen, on his 1940 era Flexible Flyer’s trying to break Per Klippgen’s 1948 record of 2 minutes and 8 seconds (editor’s note….he didn’t do it)
TSR member Rich Adamczyk and his new friend Sven share a laugh on the Thunderbolt