February 22, 2010

Mount Greylock, Massachusetts

Resurrection of the classic 'down mountain' ski race on the Mount Greylock Thunderbolt Trail was planned and organized for February, but then postponed due to lack of snow. It was to be the 75th anniversary of the first Thunderbolt down mountain race (racers hike up and then are timed on the ski back down.) Volunteers had to be deeply disappointed; they had spent countless hours working on the trail, preparing for the big race on Thunderbolt.

Thunderbolt trailhead was bathed in beautiful morning sun, but the "dangerous conditions" reported at the local outdoor shop a week prior did not seem much improved by the fresh snow there - dust on crust, very icy, ugly crust. Greylock was one of the first places to make the must ski list for my east coast trip, so it was hard to give up on it. The Bellows Pipe Trail has a more northerly aspect on Greylock, and is less steep than Thunderbolt. The 2" fresh snow at Bellows Pipe trailhead on a modest base was all I needed; up I went. Wax worked well for the up track on Bellows Pipe, and the glide back down was great fun with some telemarking available on the easy trail.

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