The Big Bend is one of the steepest parts of the Thunderbolt. It is
roughly 300 yards long and 35 degrees at it steepest pitch. The
lower part of the Big Bend turns to the right, but is sloped to the left,
making for a particularly tricky approach to the part of the
Thunderbolt known as The Steps. The steps are a series of 3 little
"steps" just below the Big Bend. The trail is narrow throughout this
Sometimes there wasn't enough snow on the Big Bend for a race, so
the course was instead routed down the Bellows Pipe Trail which
runs parallel to the Thunderbolt. The Bellows Pipe Trail was not as
exposed as the Big Bend, and often held snow when the Big Bend
Today the Big Bend is just as steep and dangerous as it was in
1935. Many a skier has made the two hour hike to the summit only
to realize that the Big Bend is beyond his capabilities. Imagine skiing
it in 1935 with leather ankle boots and skis with no metal edges!
"You had to be really a proficient skier to get down the Big Bend. Otherwise,
you had plenty of trouble."
- Lester Horton
George Verow of the Ski Runners of Adams,
checks his speed before hitting The Big Bend.
A 1940's view looking up towards The Big Bend.
A racer on the Big Bend during the 1935 Massachusetts State
Downhill Championship race.
The bottom of the Big Bend turned to the right, but sloped to the left.
times, and was last updated on January 27, 2011.
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A racer schusses the Big Bend during the 1935
Massachusetts State Downhill Championship.
A View of the Big Bend looking up...
..and around the slight
bend to the right, that
slopes to the left.
Lester Horton's Groswold skis.
1940's era downhill ski wax.
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A rare picture of a post-war race on the Thunderbolt. This is most likely
a late 1940's or early 50's snap-shot of a racer just below the Big Bend.
Greeny Guertin (in white hat) and friends survey
the Thunderbolt from the top of the Big Bend.