Building The Thunderbolt



Building The Thunderbolt

In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, Iowa farmer Ray Consello listened when a voice said if you build it they will come. A few years ago Roy Schaeffer listened when his son said if we build it they will come. This wasn’t about building a baseball field, it was about a family’s dream to build the longest mountain coaster in all of North America!

For nearly 40 years, the Schaefer family has successfully operated the Berkshire ski area in Charlemont Massachusetts, and while the Schaeffer’s continue to drive the local economy by building wind turbines, solar arrays and operating zip line canopy tours, it has been there dream to build the Thunderbolt, North America’s longest mountain coaster that inspired a small army of loyal employees.

By late september of 2014 the Thunderbolt was finally completed. On October 3rd, the engineers and state inspectors gathered to the track testing. Each coaster car was loaded with three hundred and fifty pounds of sand bagged. The employees themselves with the first to ride the Thunderbolt. On Friday, October 10, area manager Jonathan Schaefer woke to a beautiful autumn morning and said that it was the first time in over six months that he’d slept through the night now.

Now that the Thunderbolt had been built, would they come? By noon, the hall cable was running an at exactly 1 p.m. as Schaefer predicted, the very first customer
began the climb to the summit.

The word was out the Thunderbolt was running. Cell phones began ringing, the Twitter thing was tweeting and traffic began flowing up the Mohawk trail. There was a stream of customers and the area’s employees were trained and ready. They came from Greenfield, they came from Northampton, some came down from Vermont and then they came from everywhere.

Some were grandmothers. Some were grandfather’s and when school let out, the children came to ride the Thunderbolt!

That evening the front page of the newspaper declared the Thunderbolt a success as did all of the feeds from social media and just as the sons of Roy Schaefer predicted, if it was built – they would come! Come ride the Thunderbolt today!

More Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster Videos!

Berkshire East Mountain Coaster Construction

Berkshire East Mountain Coaster Construction

Berkshire East Mountain Coaster Construction! Once there were many but now there are few. Some owners blame the lean snow years in the early eighties. Some blame the rising cost of insurance. However, they should have blamed themselves because they didn't...
Berkshire East Mountain Coaster Opening Day

Berkshire East Mountain Coaster Opening Day

Berkshire East Mountain Coaster Opening Day! The day we opened, it was awesome! We had a soft opening, got the coaster up and going we did a lot of training. We went through the customer service work through the operational situation. We put through quite...
Building The Thunderbolt

Building The Thunderbolt

Building The Thunderbolt - In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, Iowa farmer Ray Consello listened when a voice said if you build it they will come. A few years ago Roy Schaeffer listened when his son said if we build it they will come. This wasn't about...
Ride The Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster

Ride The Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster

Ride the Thunderbolt with John and Sarah! Watch John and Sarah video their experience on the Thunderbolt. Fun, excitement and a good time on North America's longest Mountain Coaster! You'll want to jump on after watching this video!
Sunday Afternoon on the Thunderbolt

Sunday Afternoon on the Thunderbolt

Sunday Afternoon on the Berkshire East Thunderbolt! From getting in the Thunderbolt to driving it, watch this real video footage to get all the details of what it's like to ride in the Thunderbolt. The instructions are very simple to ride the Thunderbolt....
Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster in 25 Seconds

Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster in 25 Seconds

Experience the Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster's fun and excitement in 25 seconds! Watching this video is almost like virtual reality.
Joshua Kipp's First Ride on the Thunderbolt

Joshua Kipp's First Ride on the Thunderbolt

Joshua Kipp's First Ride on the Thunderbolt! Joshua tells his experience from Riding the Thunderbolt for the first time. From getting in and buckling up, to his view from the Thunderbolt. Push the levers down and have fun! From speeding around the first...

Share This