ADAMS -- The call has officially been made: There will be no Thunderbolt Ski Race in 2013.
Race organizer Blair Mahar called the state of the Thunderbolt Trail "skiable, not raceable" Wednesday night after taking a run with several other Thunderbolt Ski Runners earlier in the day. The race had been scheduled for Saturday.
Mahar said despite receiving a modest amount of new snow on Wednesday, particularly above the 1,800-foot range, stumps and rocks are exposed and only a thin cover of snow remains in many steep areas of the trail, such as the Big Bend.
The decision came down to the wire. Updates posted on the runners' Facebook page called it "the most difficult decision we've had to make" and ranged in tone from hope to despair with every turn in the forecast.
But snowy conditions have fizzled so far and with high temperatures above freezing expected today and each day before Saturday, it appears Mother Nature has given a thumbs down for the second year running.
"The thing the [Thunderbolt Ski] club kept coming back to, in the constant email chatter that's gone on this week, is that over everything else, safety has got to come first," Mahar said.
Thunderfest, a corresponding event held with beer, food and live music at Adams Visitors Center, is still on, scheduled Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.
Even if weather conditions made the race possible, it would still have been compromised. Organizers, delaying their decision until "the last possible deadline," have had to shed many of the amenities that make the race what it is over the course of this week. The award ceremony, planned at the Polish National Alliance bar in Adams, was scrapped, and there would have been no T-shirts or program.
"It was going to be a fraction of the race it normally is," Mahar said.
Reorganized in 2010, the annual race of Mount Greylock's signature 1.6-mile trail has become a boon for the town, drawing crowds of more than 1,500.
As was the case last year, organizers will go back to the drawing board to plan for next year. Despite two consecutive cancellations, Mahar said the group will keep the date in the late January-early February range.
"It's basically the time frame that gives us the best chance of the most snow," Mahar said. "Even back in the [1930s and 1940s, when the race was in its heyday], they always set it for then."