Monday, July 27, 2009

Are big resorts snubbing mountain bikers?

It's been about five years since I last visited Snowshoe Mountain Resort in WV. The three hour drive was a day trip to watch my nephew TJ Platt race in the Semi-Pro class at the NORBA Nationals - a race he went on to win. Mountain bikes were everywhere. Cross country racers raved about how challenging the technical trails were. Baggy-short wearing downhill and 4-cross racers chatted with lycra-clad, zero body fat xc dudes while sipping lattes at Starbucks in Snowshoe Village. The atmosphere was full of fat-tire excitement.

Since then, cross country racing has seen declining participation and downhill and other gravity disciplines have see growth.

Pookie and I headed back to Snowshoe this past weekend for a nice get-away on her birthday. I check the website and found that a downhill race (the second of a series of four races) was to be held that same weekend. Naturally, I thought that the mountain would be mobbed with gravity junkies.

This wasn't the case at all. If I didn't know prior to arriving that there was a race going on, I would have had no clue that any type of racing was happening at all. No signs, no banners, no announcements, no stage with a master of ceremonies calling attention to racers bombing the ski slopes on motorless motorcycles...nothing.

Another sad revelation was that most of the once amazing cross country trail system on the mountain has been neglected to the point that very few folks ride the remaining trails at all. Sure, Slatyfork's amazing trails are a very short drive from the resort, but to see that the trails have been left to be reclaimed by the forest just gave me a knot in my gut. They used to be so awe-inspiring. So "larger than life". This was Snowshoe. This was the ultimate place to ride.

Now it's just another ski resort.

1 comment:

Metro said...

Don’t quote me on this but I thought that SS had closed down most of the old school XC trails and allowed them to turn into 4 wheeler and dirt bike trails. I’m bummed because I’ve never had the opportunity to ride any of it.