ADAMS -- The Thunderbolt Ski Runners are enthusiastic to see snow on the ground for this year's Thunderbolt Ski Race after last year's lack of snow canceled the competition, and the satellite celebration of Thunderfest is set to make its return as well.
"Everyone in the ski community is very hopeful and grateful we've got snow on the ground now," said Josh Chittenden, race director and vice-president of the Runners. "Folks are actually skiing the Thunderbolt as we speak."
Ski Runners President Dave Childs said the amount of snow is always a concern and the group is hoping for more.
"Another few inches would be nice," Chittenden said, adding that another storm or two would make the Thunderbolt Ski Trail race course optimal and safer.
This year's race is scheduled for Feb. 9, but just in case, a no-snow date has been set for March 2.
Because there was no race last year, all of last season's racers were automatically enrolled into this year's race. There are 120 racers this year, compared to 100 from last season.
"We expanded from 100 to 120 to allow a few more folks to race," Childs said.
A lot of the racers are returning competitors. According to Chittenden, racers come from all directions, including locals, many racers from New Hampshire and Vermont, a few from Connecticut and one racer from Colorado.
In the meantime, organizers are working with the town of Adams and local fire and rescue leading up to race day. Childs believes the same army of volunteers will aid in the massive effort, including help from firemen, the local police department, amateur radio operators and volunteer spotters positioned along the Thunderbolt during the competition. The 2011 race drew an estimated 1,500 spectators.
"If the snow comes, the rest is easy," Chittenden said, noting how everyone's enthusiasm is up because of the recent snowfall. "It's just making sure we have enough snow to make the race happen."
Additionally, the second annual Thunderfest will be held on race day from noon to 5 p.m. at the Adams Visitor's Center on Hoosac Street.
"It's a great event for Adams and the fact that we're tying it with the Thunderbolt Ski Runners once again is terrific," said Dave Bissaillon, part of the Pro Adams group putting on the event. "Our biggest hope this year is that they can ski down the Thunderbolt."
At the moment, the details for Thunderfest are still being finalized, but the event will most likely include bands, food vendors, a few local brewers, a bonfire and a chowder competition.
Bissaillon added that it's all coming together nicely and announcements will be made soon.
Bissaillon, who was one of the co-chairs for last year's event, said he is taking a backseat this year, giving his spot in Thunderfest 2013 to Andrea Stump.
The Thunderbolt Ski Race is still in need of more volunteers. Those interested can visit www.thunderboltskirun.com for more information.