Bernard Gagne: Historic tidbits

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It has been very interesting reading in the Steamboat Pilot & Today the past few weeks about the 50th anniversary of the ski area, the 100th anniversary of the Winter Carnival and all the pioneers who helped develop both. I’m sure that when the ski area’s development came into its own it must have seemed like an explosion to the locals.

As an Easterner and a non-skier, I thought I’d throw in a few historic tidbits the old-timers, history buffs, ski historians and 10th Mountain Division heroes might not remember.

My hometown of Adams, Mass., is at the bottom of the only real mountain in the state, Mount Greylock, which really isn’t that big. In the ’30s, a rugged trail was carved into the mountain by the Civilian Conservation Corps and it became known as Thunderbolt. It got adopted by the young men of Adams who learned how to ski on it. Most of them later went off to join the 10th Mountain Division, and a few of them were my friends. The Massachusetts state ski championships were held on Mount Greylock and the best skiers in the country actually came there.

Most interesting is that prior to World War II, the Nazis sent their ski team — the best Europeans they could acquire — to compete in that small Berkshire County town. Much of the time was recorded on a film, which later was converted to a DVD movie titled “Purple Mountain Majesty.” I have a copy of that film, and anyone who would like to see it is welcome to get in touch with me at 970-736-8429.

Bernard Gagne

Oak Creek

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