Channel Your Evil Knievel Downhill Mountain Biking at Snowshoe Ski Resort in the Summer

Mountain Biking.
Mountain Biking. Alexander Hawn
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Mountain biking at Snowshoe is a lot like going to a big-kid amusement park. Instead of wooden and metal roller coasters, though, you’ll be riding dirt roller coasters. And fun factor is magnified ten-fold because you are in control of how rowdy the ride gets, so let your inner Evil Knievel out to play!

Snowshoe Bike Park.
Snowshoe Bike Park. Alexander Hawn

Snowshoe’s bike park is state of the art—one of the most varied and technically challenging bike parks in the country. “Dirt connoisseurs” love the loamy soil so much they’ve nicknamed it “Black Gold.” You’ll find everything from machine-made, sculpted flow trails with man-made features to full-on jump tracks to naturally raw rock and root-laden trails. There’s even an extensive network of cross-country trails throughout the resort. With close to 40 lift-serviced trails, 1,500 feet of vertical relief and a lively mountaintop village, Snowshoe is quickly becoming a prime spot for Downhill and Enduro riders in the region.

The trails run the gamut from easy to double black diamond, and there is something for all skill levels, whether you are a beginner or an elite rider. Trails like Easy Street are wide open and smooth, with only a few berms—perfect if you are a beginner and want to get used to a full-suspension downhill mountain bike. Skyline, a step up in difficulty, is a great trail for both beginners and full-on elite-level shredders. Roll or catch just a little air on any of the 50 jumps on the trail, or go big and fly down the mountain in a tail-whipping glory.

One of the most popular trail link-ups is to ride Ninja Bob to Ball and then Jack to Sweet Dreams—you’ll be grinning from ear to ear after this one. You might even start to think about mountain biking in terms of skiing, since you will literally be carving the mountain.

For longer runs, head over to the Western Slope. The lift runs right over several of the trails on this side of the mountain, and there are plenty of places where you can put on a show for the riders heading back up.

If you don't have your own equipment, don't worry—the Snowshoe Bike Park has anything you might need right there. Snowshoe rents out Kona and Specialized downhill-specific bikes, and full face helmets and pads. You can use your own mountain bike, but you really should use a full suspension bike with a lot of beef in the front and back, preferably a full-on downhill bike. Snowshoe is well known for the gnar, and even most standard full suspension trail bikes might not be up for the challenge. The bike park also has a bunch of skills classes to help get you started or move up to the next level.

Taking a jump at Snowshoe Bike Park.
Taking a jump at Snowshoe Bike Park. Alexander Hawn

If you like competition, you're in luck! Snowshoe has a long history of mountain bike races, and annual races like the Chomolungma Challenge, The Snowshoe Wild Hare and the Snowshoe Gravity Race bring out racers from all over the country. The resort has even been awarded the 2017-18 USAC Mountain Bike National Championships. Rumor has it that they are vying for a World Cup event this decade, and if this happens, you can bet that the East Coast mountain bike community will come out in droves.

After a long day of riding, you are going to work up an appetite, and there some great options at the top of the mountain in Snowshoe Village, like Foxfire Grille, Old Spruce Café and Tavern, Cheat Mountain Pizza, Sunset Cantina, and The Junction Restaurant and Saloon, to name a few. On the Western Slope is Line Shack and Trailside Cafe. If you want to stay a night or two, Snowshoe has everything from simple hotel rooms to luxury condos.

You could also stay at the Elk River Touring Center, or camp down the mountain in Slatyfork. If you decide to camp, bring your trail bike to explore the extensive network of forested trails around Slatyfork (Tea Creek Mountain Trail is one of the best natural downhills in the state).

Discover more amazing Mountain State biking trails.

Originally written for West Virginia .

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