The toughest, most spectacular and most unique race on the whole GNCC tour, the Snowshoe GNCC made its debut in 2007 and will not soon be forgotten. The race is set in the upscale ski village at Snowshoe, West Virginia’s largest ski resort. The surroundings are not only several steps above the typical GNCC course, they’re also plusher than many luxury resorts. The array of hotels, shops and restaurants provide plenty of entertainment off the race track, and the facility also hosts an amazing golf course and some of the best mountain bike trails in the country.
The famed Blackwater 100 was the original GNCC race, and it took place in the same part of the state as Snowshoe. So to celebrate the Blackwater heritage, the Snowshoe race starts “in town.” Unlike a typical GNCC dead-engine start in a field, riders at the Snowshoe line up on a paved road in groups of five. They start live engine every five seconds, which makes for a spectacular scene.
But once the riders are on the course, everything beautiful disappears. A few miles of the course make up simply the roughest, toughest section of GNCC track you’ll see all year. Deep mud bogs, massive tree roots and near-vertical hill climbs are enough to stop almost everyone, and if not for the help of the ever determined “mud fleas” (GNCC fans) some sections may not be passable at all.
In the tradition of the old Blackwater, which was known as the “World’s Toughest Race,” the Snowshoe GNCC is the ultimate test for a cross-country racer. Luckily, the course also features a few miles of gravel road, which provides a much-needed rest.
To further keep riders on their toes, Snowshoe sits at 4242 feet of elevation, so jetting becomes an issue for most machines. Except it tends to be pretty cold, too, since you’re so high up.
From the East
Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Richmond Area: I-64 West to I-81 North to Staunton, VA, West on US-250 then South on 42 to Goshen, VA, then WV-39 West to Marlinton, WV, then 26 miles North on US-219 to Snowshoe.
From the North
Pittsburgh: I-79 South to Weston, WV, then East on US-33 to Elkins, South 48 miles on US-219 to Snowshoe.
Wilmington, Baltimore and points northeast: I-95 to Baltimore, then I-70 to I-81 South to Strasburg, VA, travel West on HWY 55 into WV. Proceed through Moorefield and Petersburg where you will take Route 28 towards Green Bank / Cass. Travel on 28 through Green Bank. Take Route 66 toward Cass on to Snowshoe.
Raleigh-Durham, Greensboro Area: North on US-220 to Roanoke and on to Clifton Forge, VA, then I-64 West to White Sulphur Springs, then 92 North to WV-39 West to Marlinton, WV; and 26 miles North on US-219 to Snowshoe. (Highway 92 is a very drivable route from I-64 to WV39).
Atlanta, Columbia and Charlotte Areas: North on I-77 from Charlotte to Beckley, WV, then I-64 East to White Sulphur Springs, then 92 North to WV-39 West to Marlinton, WV: then 26 miles North on US-219 to Snowshoe. (You may also leave I-64 at Lewisburg and travel Hwy 219 North to Snowshoe . . . shorter but very mountainous)
From the West
Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland Areas: I-75 to I-80/90 East, South on I-77 to Parkersburg, WV; US-50 East to Clarksburg and I-79 South to Weston, WV, then East on US-33 to Elkins, then South 48 miles on US-219.
Chicago, Indianapolis, Dayton, Columbus: South on I-65 to Indianapolis then East on I-70 through Dayton to Columbus, take 270 South to US-33 East to Athens, Ohio, then US-50 East to Parkersburg and Clarksburg, WV; I-79 South to Weston, WV, then East on US-33 to Elkins, South 48 miles on US-219. (NOTE 1: US-33 from Columbus to Athens is mostly 4-lane Highway and takes 30 minutes off the travel time from Columbus).
Nashville, Knoxville, Tri-Cities Areas: I-40 to Knoxville and I-81 North to I-77 North to I-64 East to White Sulphur Springs, then 92 North to WV-39 West to Marlinton, WV; then 26 miles on US-219 North to Snowshoe. (You may also leave I-64 at Lewisburg and travel Hwy 219 North to Snowshoe . . . shorter but very mountainous).
Cincinnati: Take Rt. 50 *East from I-275 to Athens, Ohio, on to Parkersburg and Clarksburg, WV, then I-79 South to Weston, WV. Take US-33 East to Elkins, WV then US-219 South 48 miles to Snowshoe. (Or take I-75 South to I-64 East with same routing as Evansville).
Evansville, Louisville, Lexington Areas: I-64 East to Charleston, WV, continue on I-64/77 (toll) to Beckley, WV, then I-64 East to White Sulphur Springs. Exit US-60 thru town of White Sulphur Springs, then left on to Rt. 92 and after 39 miles, turn left on Rt-39 to Marlinton. North on US-219 for 26 miles to Snowshoe (Or see Alternate Route #2 below, shorter but mountainous).