SNOWSHOE, West Va. (WFXR) — Challenging courses and amazing mountain views await the competitors from all around the world when they arrive at Snowshoe, West Virginia next week for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup finals.
“We have something to showcase here in West Virginia. It’s close by to Roanoke, D.C., all these areas are right here in our backyard,” Snowshoe Mountain Bike Park Manager Evan Cole said. “Making this a celebration of the sport and just drawing people into this area. I think it is going to be a great experience.”
In the past decade, the resort has been the site of countless regional mountain biking races. It’s also been a four-time host of the USA Cycling National Championships. But the World Cup finals will be its biggest competition yet.
“We have been working on this event for over a year since we first got the bid and it is just the small details,” World Cup race director Preston Cline said. “So we want to be known that mountain biking is back in the US.”
Snowshoe Mountain, known to many as a winter destination, is being thrust into the international spotlight for the first time ever. The World Cup finals are making their return to American soil for the first time in four years.
“We want to make it so its visibly appealing and also make it a great course and a great atmosphere for the fans as well,” Cline said.
The stakes will be high from September 6-8 at Snowshoe with World Cup titles on the line at the final event of the season.
Over three days, championships will be awarded to both men and women in different disciplines, including downhill and cross country.
“I think it is super neat,” Cole said. “The opportunity for someone in the US to come here to snowshoe and have this experience of watching these riders, the best riders in the world, compete at this level.”
The cross country course is 2.3 miles long and riders will complete in each lap in about six to seven minutes, according to Cole.
“I think it is going to be a grind the whole race the track is really demanding,” Cole said. “There is a lot of rooty, rocky sections we have put in there so that’s not going to be what people are use to they are going to come and I think they are going to be surprised on what we have to offer here at Snowshoe.”
And what Snowshoe can offer are views you can’t get anywhere else.
“This is huge, it is not only huge for snowshoe it is huge for the region,” Cline said. “You are talking about mountain bikers coming from all over the world to see what we have to offer the region.”
Organizers expect 10,000 spectators to visit Snowshoe and an additional 15.1 million viewers on television.
Snowshoe’s long term goal is to make the resort a year-round destination, with mountain biking at the forefront.
“All the magazine shots that are going to have Snowshoe in the background and have this beautiful scenery in the background. People are going to open that up and view that magazine and people are going to look at that shot,” Cline said.
“And people that look on social media or look at the news, they are going to look at that place and say ‘Hey! That is a great place to go mountain biking! They had the world cup there. Let’s go try that out.'”