Exciting News about Mountain Biking in Pocahontas County
In the first part of our talk with Cara Rosa, the Director of the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Cara talked about a whole plateful of tourism events coming up this summer. Now in this second part, she tells us about some very exciting things that are happening that will transform Pocahontas County into one of the premier mountain biking destinations in the U.S.
“The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Ride Center assessment is coming up soon” Rose said. “As everyone may remember, we have applied to become the Snowshoe Highlands Ride Center through the IMBA designation. And this is a really important designation in terms of mountain biking. It will setup the stage and will position Pocahontas County, and Snowshoe Mountain as a premier mountain biking destination. IMBA will do an assessment on the ground, so they will send a team of mountain bikers to the County. The week of June 24th is the tentative date at this point. And they will be evaluating everything we put on this application -trails that we listed; services; lodging establishments that identify themselves as ‘mountain buke friendly.’ We feel confident that we will be successful at achieving the designation. Not sure when that announcement will come, but following the assessment, we will be notified of the status of the application.”
What will that mean?
“Well, in the big scheme of things, there are not that many ride centers around the country, particularly here on the east coast, and none in West Virginia. Basically, what it says is that IMBA, – which is THE mountain bike organization for the world- they have set criteria which destinations have to meet that tell a mountain biker that, yes, we are ready for mountain bikers. We have services that you are looking for; we have a wide range of trails that you are looking for. We offer a gravity park; we offer everything from entry level single-track riding to the hard-core single loop riding in the County. Out trails are well maintained; they are well established and well-marked.”
I have to ask, what’s a gravity park?
“What it means is -and this is just my generic answer to this, just so you know – that it’s purposely built trails – for the high energy 20 to 35 year-old mountain biker who is looking for the adrenalin rush. Kit’s steep inclines, tight turns, purposely built trails. It’s a rush basically. That’s what they are looking for. So, that’s the audience for the gravity park, and you have to have one in order to get a designation. You can’t do it without Snowshoe. It’s quite an achievement to become a designated ride center. It’s a marketing tool for Pocahontas County as well. We’ll be able to start advertising Pocahontas County not only as a great place to mountain buke, but as an IMBA Designated Ride Center. It’s an opportunity for us, again, to set the stage for a growing mountain bike industry”
“Following the IMBA assessment, of course, we also have the World Cup Mountain bike Race coming to Snowshoe Mountain September 6, 7 and 8th, which is, again, a significant event for snowshoe Mountain and Pocahontas County. This is the only United States stop on the race series, and it happens to be the Championship Race. It’s the last race of the (World Cup) Series, so, this is another opportunity for Pocahontas County; for Snowshoe Mountain to highlight the great mountain biking opportunities that we offer in Pocahontas County; Snowshoe, and, of course, West Virginia. There will be anywhere between five and ten-thousand visitors coming to Pocahontas County for this event. And it’s international. We will have contingencies from around the world -many different countries represented. It is televised. It has some big sponsors such as Mercedes-Benz and Red Bull. It’s a significant event for our area.”