Double the Pain at Snowshoe GNCC

June 19, 2009
Courtesy of GNCC Racing

Grand National Cross Country Racing

An all-new, innovative 20-mile race track will challenge racers at next weekend’s Snowshoe GNCC, round nine of the Can-AM Grand National Cross Country Series. The brand-new track, twice the length of a normal GNCC course, will include an amazing 1000 foot climb and a dizzying array of rocks, mud holes and hill climbs, promising to put the world’s top off-road racers to a true test.

The afternoon ATV (Saturday) and bike race (Sunday) will use the 20 mile double loop, which consists of 10 miles on the traditional east side of the facility, and a new 10-mile loop on the west side. The pro pits lie in the center of the two loops, so fans and teams will still see the racers every ten miles, similar to a regular GNCC.

“It’s difficult to build the right track at Snowshoe because the terrain is somo steep and so tough,” says GNCC Trail Boss Jeff Russell, the 1991 AMA Enduro Champion. “Snowshoe has given us access to the west side of the property for the first time, which opens up a network of trails with a great flow to them. I’m really confident this track will work.”
The new track joins the unprecedented $50,000 prize purse and an unmatched setting at West Virginia’s largest ski resort to form an off-road race like no other in the world.

The event will still start with the traditional Snowshoe GP-style start in the center of the Resort Village. Youth and Morning race GNCC riders will race on the east side of Snowshoe Resort only. Russell and the GNCC track crew have redesigned that section of the course in comparison to last year. Youth riders will run on an abbreviated track, and five new miles are incorporated into the morning race, with the more difficult sections running downhill to prevent traffic jams, and the faster sections up the ski slopes run uphill to keep speeds down.

The afternoon races, for Pro, Expert and Intermediate-level racers, will utilize the western territory for the first time ever. After completing the traditional 10 miles on the east side, riders will cross the finish line and then wind over to the west. The track will plunge nearly 1000 feet in elevation on downhill trails, introduce them to a good flow of tight trails in the valley, and then climb back up 1000 feet on a rugged, steep, powerline road, very similar to sections used in the legendary Blackwater 100 off-road race-the original GNCC. Snowshoe hotels rooms and the GNCC pro pits lie at the top of the climb.

“The climb is going to be just an epic sight,” says Jeff. “You have to come up 1000 feet of elevation to get back to the pits, and it’s on rough power line roads up hill, just like Blackwater. Lots of lines so no one will get stuck behind slower riders. And the view from the top will be unbelievable.”

The traditional two-hour ATV race and three-hour bike race times will remain, and GNCC officials estimate that will make for a 2 ½ lap ATV race and a 4 ½ lap bike race.

The Snowshoe GNCC takes place on June 27 and 28, 2009. Ticket prices for the event are just $15 for the full race weekend, including ATV racing all day on Saturday and bike racing on Sunday. In all, up to 1500 riders are expected to compete. Children five and under are free, as is full access to the pro pits and pro rider autographs. Also, Snowshoe will keep its ski lift chairs operating all weekend to shuttle fans down to the more spectacular parts of the course.

Snowshoe Resort is West Virginia’s largest ski resort, and also offers mountain biking and golf in the summer months. The event offers riders a once-a-year opportunity to race around a resort, with hotels and restaurants all within site of the track. The event will even start right in the middle of the ski village. For more information on Snowshoe, visit

For more information on the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series, visit