The Berkshires might not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of backcountry skiing. However, Massachusett's highest peak (3,491 feet), Mount Greylock is home to one of the most-popular runs for expert sidecountry adventurers in the Northeast.
Thuderbolt Trail, a historic CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) trail cut back in the early 1930s, was the site of the 1936 United States Eastern Alpine Ski Championships and hosted countless race events until the late 50s. Even notable ski legends like Olympian Dick Durrance and Ski Hall-of-Famer Toni Matt have torn down this 30-35 degree pitch.
Other than during the Thunderbolt Ski Runners annual members-only race, the trail is accessible to thrill-seekers looking to carve up a piece of skiing history. Find the trail listed in the Mt. Greylock State park trail map, which can lead to more possible routes down the 2,050 feet of vert.
Expect highly variable conditions and wait to head up until the base snowpack is at a premium. The hike alone is well worth the trip, yielding stoic panoramas of the Catskills, Adirondacks, Berkshires, Green Mountains and even New Hampshire's White Mountains in the distance.
Fly into Albany, New York; Mount Greylock is 52 miles to the east of Albany via Hwy 43.
MORE BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURES:
- Mt. Baker, Washington
- Berthoud Pass, Central Colorado
- Tenmile Range/Summit County, North-central Colorado
- Mt. Lassen, California
- Wasatch Range, Utah
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Sawtooth Mountains, Idaho
- Teton Pass, Wyoming
- Mount Greylock, Western Massachusetts
- Bolton Valley Backcountry, Northern Vermont
- Cardigan Ski Reservation, Western New Hampshire