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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My buddy is graduating from The Citadel in May and I'm wondering if the extra drive up to Snowshoe mountain is worth it. I'm not sure if there is anything closer to Charleston, snowshoe is just one of the places that I've heard of before and it sounds like a pretty good "park". Basically I'm gonna have to drive ~1000 miles round trip to go riding there so I'm not totally sold on the idea, but a roadtrip to start the summer doesn't sound like that bad of an idea.

I live in florida so I really wanna experience riding with actual elevation change, and long descents. I guess my riding would be considered aggressive xc or "all mountain", but I'm really interested in trying some downhill type stuff to see what it's all about. I ride a kona dawg so I'm not sure if my bike is up for downhill riding, but I guess I could rent too.

Also, any suggestions any good riding closer to the S.C. border?
 

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I'll run you all around Kanawha State Forest if you'd like... it's just a few miles south of Charleston.... my home trails.

Massive trail system in the region... probably 800+ feet of vertical on two ridges. And home of the infamous Black Bear Mtn. Bike Trail.. considered the gnarliest trail in the Mid-A.

Very amazing trails... I would say Snowshoe's are better, but any mud at Snowshoe is horrible... at KSF it's managable (assuming no hurricanes). And if you want a wicked long ride there is a new 12.5 mile all trail (mostly XC, some steeps) that's just recently been finished that links into the KSF system, then from there the possibilities are endless. Probably my ride on Sunday.
 

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I don't know about Snowshoe myself, but....

If Pipestem is willing to show you around I'd say go for it. KSF is my old stomping grounds for about the last 6 or 7 yrs and I can tell you that you won't be disappointed. I make trips to Charleston just to ride there. :)
 

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There's a couple of regulars who come up to Snowshoe from FL every year, sometimes several times a season. They seem to think it's worth it. There aren't many places in the South with 1500 vertical feet of shuttle served terrain and a 800 ft vert liftserved terrain park on the other side of the mountain. Try it once at least, I don't think you'll be dissapointed.

Mike
 

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Never been my favorite...

But I've only done the 24 hour race there and a NORBA race. In my opinion, if you are interested in seeing the trails in the area, the Wild 100 race runs in August and it is in the area adjacent to Snowshoe. Its a great event, you see lots of the trails in the area (if you choose to), but you will almost inevitably still have to deal with some of the mud and slick roots that I have come to think of as being synomymous with Snowshoe.
 

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FloridaFish said:
I live in florida so I really wanna experience riding with actual elevation change, and long descents. I guess my riding would be considered aggressive xc or "all mountain", but I'm really interested in trying some downhill type stuff to see what it's all about. I ride a kona dawg so I'm not sure if my bike is up for downhill riding, but I guess I could rent too.
If you want to try a man-made park, Snowshoe's would be hard to beat east of the Mississippi. Intrawest, Snowshoe's owner, is the same group responsible for Whistler's park as well, I believe. They have good DH bikes and body armor available for rent at Snowshoe. I live about 20 miles from Snowshoe but have not ridden the "park" as its not really my cup of tea.

Elevation change and long descents are what Pocahontas County riding is all about. Over 70% of our county is inside the Monongahela National Forest, and its said that we have over 800 miles of rideable trails, although I've never bothered to do the math. We've had some Floridians attend the Slatyfork Shuffle in the past and I believe they got more than their fair share of elevation change and long downhills (and also uphills) while they were here. You may want to consider a "pay" day at Snowshoe and a few days riding the MNF around Gauley Mt. if you come up this way.

Just my $0.02.
 

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TurnerConvert said:
...but you will almost inevitably still have to deal with some of the mud and slick roots that I have come to think of as being synomymous with Snowshoe.
You forgot the rocks. Rocks, roots, and mud constitute about 99% of our trails. Although, we did receive less than average snowfall this past winter and so far spring has not turned into monsoon season, so the trails should be in good shape this summer. Maybe even dry by August. I think the last time I saw "dry" trails here was August 2002 when we experienced a drought in that summer. Snowshoe's race trails usually suffer from to many wheels covering the same ground in a short period of time. The MNF trails actually suffer from underuse, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, you just learn to ride with a folding saw and forget about crazy light parts that just don't stand up to the abuse.
 

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If you are coming from Charleston....

Pisgah National Forest is a good alternative and a closer drive, appr 4 hours to get there from Charleston, about three hundred miles straight up I-26. It has all the elevation change that Snowshoe has and even taller mountains. You definitely won't have the Shuttling or all the man made facilities but there are TONS of rockin trails and the locals are usually pretty willing to meet up with you and show you around. There are trails for all types of riders, so if you are not up for hammering a 1500' downhill (and climb) you can hit Tsali and fly like the wind on some pretty fun singletrack . There's also Dupont State Forest with a great area of exposed granite you can ride on and about 100 different trails to choose from (again, locals willing to meet ya, usually). The are plenty of places to stay all around, cheap hotels, B and B's and everything in between. You'll be closer to cities here as well with many alternative for beer swilling and excellent burritoes. The campsites are well maintained and you can ride from your site.

The area where they hold the Wild 100 is a primo destination as well (Slatyfork, WV). TONS of GREAT trails and staying at the Elk River Touring Company is a treat in itself. Usually a lot of mtn bikers staying there from all over, a really cool scene IMO. Again, no shuttling that i know of, but the trails are worth it. You can camp in the area as well, with and without facilities. I've done a few loops before straight from and to my campsite here and had a blast, I can't recommend this area enough.

Good luck
 

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yeah, uh............bikes
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
good to hear of closer riding

Thanks for all the info on places to ride closer to charleston. I'm thinkin now that I'll just drive west and check out some of the stuff in N.C.. I just can't seem to rationalize a nine hour drive (one-way) just for a day at Snowshoe. I'm broke too, so that has a tendency to lead me to less expensive destinations.

Pipedream, I think I'll take you up on that offer when I get up to Charleston. I'm not sure of the date yet, but it'll be sometime in early May.

Thanks again.
 

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I would second the idea to head to western NC since it's closer. But, what you won't get is the experience of riding ONLY downhill all day. Even though I'm mostly an XC I've always had a blast at snowshoe, even on a hardtail. You could rent a DH or freeride bike and have even more fun. There is plent of other riding in the west virginia area when you're ready to head somewhere else.

One thing to consider, though, is that if you haven't ridden rocky rooty technical terrain you'll probably find the riding pretty challenging, and then maybe Snowshoe really isn't worth the drive. If you have time, you could always break the trip up and do both western NC and west virginia.
 

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yeah, uh............bikes
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
thanks all

Good call on Pisgah/Dupont riding. I made it out there on monday and tuesday and it was incredible. I rode the black mountain loop suggested on mtbikewnc.com and just about killed myself getting to the top, downhill however was definately worth it. Dupont was amazing too, with a bit more friendly climbing but with the same awesome technical downhill sections.

I'm gonna post more details of the ride once I get some photos developed. Thanks for the reccomendations.
 
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