Track Walk Photo Epic: Snowshoe World Cup DH 2021

Sep 13, 2021
by Nathan Hughes  




Hold onto your hats; the 2021 season all comes down to this. A double-header event at the 2019 venue of Snowshoe, West Virginia, in the US of A. Only one week since the dust settled in Lenzerheide, there's been little time to recoup as we head straight into the conclusion of this thrilling '21 season. The Commencal Muc-Off duo of Myriam Nicole and Thibaut Daprela are in the driving seats of both overalls, but their leads are far from insurmountable with rivals hot on their heels and hungry to cause an upset as the year draws to a close. Will home soil bring out the best in American hopes the likes of Norton, Shaw and Harrison or will the French forces overpower the rest of the field once again? Can Seagrave take her second win of the season or will she be shut down by Myriam or a fiery clean run from Höll or 2019 winner, Cabirou?

The bulk of the track will be the same rocky, rooty masterpiece we enjoyed last time around, but the local track builders have been busy toiling in the American dirt making a variety of changes to the course, particularly on the upper slopes with some fresh sends and new turns. It'll certainly be interesting to see how the results vary between the events with a long and tiring week on this techy mountainside in prospect for the riders. Just as we saw for last season's double-header events, some sections will be swapped in between the two races to mix things up for racers and fans alike. Expect to be well entertained for the final push from the World's fastest.


One fine week of incredbile action is ahead of us in the land of the free.
One fine week of incredible action is ahead of us in the land of the free.

Photographer steeze from YT s Jack Tennyson.
Photographer steeze from YT's Jack Tennyson.

After a 2 year absence we are back in Snowshoe West Virginia.
After a 2-year absence we are back in Snowshoe, West Virginia.

Don t expect to see much of Vali and Jamie this week you might hear them now and again though.
Don't expect to see much of Vali and Jamie this week, you might hear them now and again though.

Bike rebuild going down after Lenzerheide and then the subsequent flight across the Atlantic to the US.
Bike rebuild going down after Lenzerheide and then the subsequent flight across the Atlantic to the US.

Linkage bolt checks are done a little different over at Trek.
Linkage bolt checks are done a little different over at Trek.

Barnaby Edwards on the Pabst.
Bernard Kerr's mechanic, Barnaby Edwards, on the Pabst.

Can Charlie Harrison repeat his run that took him to a podium finish the last time we were in Snowshoe
Can Charlie Harrison repeat his run that took him to a podium finish the last time we were in Snowshoe?

Jumps of World Cups past. Not pictured because it was regrettably bulldozed for ski season.
Jumps of World Cups past. Not pictured, because that beautiful hip jump was regrettably bulldozed for ski season.

Some fresh turns out in the ski piste.
Some fresh turns out in the ski piste.

As smooth as it gets on this track before trouble builds for riders down-course.
Still smooth into the woods, before trouble builds for riders down-course.

Just the right machine for this neck of the woods.
Just the right machine for this neck of the woods.

One of the new features on the course is a double which jumps between two trees.
One of the new features on the course is a double that jumps between two trees.

Bernard Kerr approves of the top jumps.
Bernard Kerr approves of the top jumps.

Things would get treacherously slick if we were to get some rain this week.
Things would get treacherously slick if we were to get some rain this week.

Danny Hart was the winner last time we were in Snowshoe.
Danny Hart was the winner last time we were in Snowshoe.

There s no shortage of rocks in that lower rock garden.
There's no shortage of rocks in that lower rock garden.

Haircuts abroad are rarely worth it.
Haircuts abroad are rarely worth it.

Problem solving in the widest section of rock.
Problem-solving in the widest section of rock.

Pedal here and you re doing it wrong.
Pedal here and you're doing it wrong.

The course really blossoms into a beautiful natural affair after the half way point.
The course really blossoms into a beautiful natural affair after the halfway point.

Back in the mix except not quite yet. Aaron Gwin will sit this one out and bide his time until 2022 for his comeback.
Back in the mix, except not quite yet. Aaron Gwin will sit this one out and bide his time until 2022 for his comeback.

Dangerous creatures lurking in the undergrowth.
Dangerous creatures lurking in the undergrowth.

Left or right not centre.
Left or right, not centre.

All natural beauty here in Pocahontus county.
All natural beauty here in Pocahontas county.

George Branngian saving his legs.
George Brannigan saving his legs.

The steep section is taped pretty curiously this race.
The steep section is taped pretty curiously this race.

A root nest Val Di Sole would be proud of.
A root nest Val Di Sole would be proud of.

Imported African dirt for some mid-track berms.
Imported African dirt for some mid-track berms.

The World Champ Myriam Nicole will be looking to seal the deal on the overall World Cup title this weekend.
The World Champ Myriam Nicole will be looking to seal the deal on the overall World Cup title this weekend.

Sharp edges aplenty.
Sharp edges aplenty.

Hold on and hope.
Hold on and hope.

Whale-tale no more...
Whale-tail no more...

Some last minute adjustments being made to the finish line jump which drew a lot of attention from racers on the run up to the event.
Some last-minute adjustments being made to the finish line jump which drew a lot of attention from racers on the run-up to the event.

Loris Vergier is the man with the momentum at the moment.
Loris Vergier of course the man with the momentum at the moment.

Not Canada but still all time fall time approaches.
Not Canada, but still all time fall time approaches.

The rolling hills of West Virginia.
The rolling hills of West Virginia.

Sr Suntour s Kevin getting the squishy bits sorted for hectic week ahead.
Sr Suntour's Kevin getting the squishy bits sorted for the hectic week ahead.

Logan Mulally measures up for the season finale.
Logan Mulally measures up for the season finale.

Tools of the trade.
Tools of the trade.

Big job for Lewis Kirkwood this week with two back to back rounds of bike smashing to take care of.
Big job for Lewis Kirkwood this week with two back to back rounds of bike smashing to take care of.

The way we re doing it here in West Virginia. Many teams favoring the condo build today.
The way some folk are doing it out here in West Virginia. Many teams favoring the condo build today.

Car boot build.
Car boot build.

Marshy on the tools at the Scott pits.
Marshy on the tools at the Scott pits.

And the red side of Chuck s bike.
And the red side of Chuck Harrison's bike.

Chuck s bike also gets some touches of America for derailleur pulleys.
Chuck's bike also gets some touches of America for derailleur pulleys.

Top wild card for the win here in Snowshoe is surely American national champ Dakotah Norton.
Top wild card for the win here in Snowshoe is surely American national champ, Dakotah Norton.

The high-life it ain t. Still everybody made it more or less without a hitch and that s something to feel grateful about in these tricky times for international travel.
The high-life it ain't. Still, everybody made it more or less without a hitch and that's something to feel grateful about in these tricky times for international travel.

Great looking colour matching too.
Great looking colour matching by GT this season.

Teams are going to go through a lot of these this week. The track is littered with square edge stones.
Teams are going to go through a lot of these this week. The track is littered with square edge stones.

Dakotah Norton warming up for the big jumps on track.
Dakotah Norton warming up for the big jumps on track.

40s came in waves for some love over at Fox.
40s came in waves for some love over at Fox.

Brook shotguns one for the patriots out there.
Brook shotguns one for the patriots out there.



141 Comments

  • 78 2
 Great coverage of East Coast USA vibe = arguably, the birthplace of lift access gravity riding 32 years ago with the opening of Mt. Snow to downhill followed by Plattekill and Diablo (Mt. Creek). Back then pretty much everything looked like the lower half of this course and Mountain Creek today still is the place to be if you like natural rock gardens.

In the future I would like to see Killington host a second USA based WC from the top of K1. It's insane the type of track that could be built there and the infrastructure for everything is in place.
  • 15 1
 You forgot to mention Tenney Mountain, host of the White Mountain DH Championships back in the early 90s. In regards to Killington, that would be sick if they built a new trail, otherwise it would be prime for an EWS. Scarecrow to Steel Panther for instance.
  • 7 0
 Killington would be really cool. The US Open track was really good in 2018.
  • 1 0
 Traveling from mountain creek as my local spot , this mountain does feel like home
  • 3 0
 @scott-townes: yes, that would be one hell of an EWS stage.
  • 2 0
 @jaytdubs: @scott-townes: I'm pretty sure that stage was raced at an ESC EWS qualifier several years ago. In torrential rain the rock gardens and drops were formidable.
  • 1 0
 @rbarbier12: That double black section on Scarecrow must have been fun in the rain!
  • 3 0
 @scott-townes: Having spent a bunch of time riding the trails at the top of Burke lately, I'm psyched to watch the EWS race on that mountain next year. Rude Awakening, Freeride, and Upper J Bar are some of the best examples of New England tech I've come across.

Also Plattekill, Tenney, and old School Mount Snow were true East Coast classics. I was just talking to some buddies yesterday about getting back to Plattekill
  • 2 0
 Yea loving the east coast vibe. Cant wait to move back to to the right coast
  • 2 0
 @harryhood: Yeah that's easily agreeable. The first DH trails built on Burke were absolutely insane, it was EC riding on steroids. I think those are now the DH and Freeride trails. I can't wait to see them racing down Rude Awakening.
  • 1 0
 and on the west coast Snoqualime Pass had lift access in 1991 and was host to a few NORBA races and a World Cup race in 98 that Steve Peat won! Check out this list of riders!

www.rootsandrain.com/event852/1998-jul-28-grundig-uci-world-cup-dh-5-snoqualmie-pass-wa/results

The excited to see them reopen this coming summer for lift access again!
  • 1 0
 The kid with the No-hawk and stars-n-stripes visor rules!
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh:

That's Raphael Iniguez from Commencal-NOBL ya big dummy.
  • 33 1
 Good to see that idiotic 'whale tail' has been removed.
  • 12 8
 Everyone is being such a pussy about that thing. No wonder NASCAR is so popular. I wanted to see the quad!
  • 1 0
 @Assclapp: WTF is that got to do with NASCAR?
That had nothing to do with downhill. There's plenty of slopestyle events for you to watch features like that.
  • 3 2
 @nozes: NASCAR makes the track and cars homogeneous. Seems like everyone thinks that anything remotely hard to ride somehow makes the race worse.
  • 1 0
 @Assclapp: Well I want hard tracks but with natural features,or at least manmade dirt and rocks sections.
  • 1 0
 That's what Ferdinand Porsche said.




Too soon?
  • 1 1
 @nozes: so 85-90% of the track being dirt and rock already isn't enough? A true and devoted purist!
  • 21 1
 Expect the Bulldog to give it everything this weekend - he's been building up to this one all year getting better race by race and he'll want to finish the year on a personal high or crash and burn trying spectaculary!
  • 2 12
flag Tambo (Sep 13, 2021 at 7:47) (Below Threshold)
 I really hope it's the former, but feel like the latter is more likely :/
  • 3 0
 @Tambo: you must be fun at parties
  • 1 0
 @kiwikev: bulldog not giving it everything at all his races?
  • 20 0
 “ Can Seagrave fight back to take her first win of the season ”

Didn’t she win in Les Gets this year?
  • 5 0
 That's been edited now!
  • 19 1
 Country roads take me home!
  • 17 5
 I hope the expert track designers are grateful they spent the absurd amount of time, money and resources to build such a ridiculous feature only to have it taken down immediately after UCI / rider review. I mean, did anyone actually think that would ever truly be a possibility on a WC track? This isn’t the Gravity East Finals FFS…
  • 8 3
 Well, they are the best riders in the world. They should be able to hit a medium sized jump.
  • 5 2
 @Jaib06: the jump as shown is not what I’m referring to. Please go find a photo of the original whale tail feature - not a practical choice for a section of track where speeds were likely close to 40mph (64kmh for you).
  • 4 3
 @almostheaven:
Ya man couldn’t agree more. Watching them build that, I was wondering what they are thinking.
Pretty disappointed in snowshoe running them down the same trail they have ran races on for 20+ years.
Maybe. Little less effort in features and little more in a meeting trail.
  • 1 3
 @almostheaven: Are you talking about the old shipping container jump?
  • 3 13
flag Assclapp (Sep 13, 2021 at 9:52) (Below Threshold)
 @almostheaven: should have built a giant, banked left turn instead to appease you NASCAR-ass fans.
  • 1 0
 @Jaib06: No he's talking about the current wood jump that up until 2 days ago had a whale tail in the middle of it. Go look at Snowshoe's instagram, it's on there and everyone's ripping into them lol.
  • 1 0
 @piratetrails: Oh god yea. Just booking it into the side of a ramp doesn't sound too fun. I would've loved to see someone huck over the whole thing though...
  • 4 0
 @Assclapp: that would hit different if I had ever taken the interest to watch a single NASACAR race. I’m more of a DTM fan myself. What would you think “aboot” having a giant plate of poutine at the finish line? Would that appease you Freedom-fry-and-gravy-loving-ass fans? (INB4 “ass fans” becomes a thing).
  • 3 0
 @Assclapp: maaaan that’s twice with the nascar burn. Shake n bake baby.

No, pretty much the hate is the raw natural rocks is what makes snowshoe bad ass. I’m a season pass holder, I love the place. We just would rather see a new natural dh track, not a dumb ass whale tail in the middle of the ski run.
  • 2 2
 @almostheaven: I think you missed my metaphor. Explained: I thinkg that "X is a not a practical choice where speeds >40mph" is a bizarre sentiment among downhill MTB fans. Isn't the point that they racers find the fastest way down, around, through whatever happens to be on the track?
  • 3 3
 @sunringlerider: chundery gnar is the only real MTB.
  • 3 0
 @Assclapp: it’s not bizarre at all, slow speed slopestyle features have no places in the high speed run up to a WC finish area. There may have been a place for it, but that is not it.
  • 1 0
 Wang measuring at its finest. Just gonna get somebody f'd up for the ego of somebody great a jumping and mediocre at racing. Nice job bois.
  • 1 0
 @Assclapp: NASCAR is the dodgeball of auto racing.
  • 1 0
 @almostheaven:
The turn going into that feature was a lower speed turn, either way it’s dope but just saying
  • 2 0
 I would like to have at least seen the riders guinea pig it.
That I know of, no pro even laid eyes on it?
  • 11 1
 Gwin, in order to win, you need to learn how to ride the Wet Virginia. Canadians, our West Virginia maple syrup is delicious and worth a try!
  • 5 2
 Truly disappointed he's sitting this one out. Thought for sure he'd be primed for a US race. If he's waiting for next year - it'll be one hell of a comeback if he gets back up in the mix. Everyone will be going that much faster too.
  • 6 1
 @neimbc: Of all people I thought Gwin would have given this one his all just for the principle of being on home soil.
  • 5 0
 @bsarfino: probably speaks to how bad the injury is.
  • 1 0
 Can confirm. Hope to see you this weekend man! This is Sam, btw.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, surprised he didn't at least gear up and cruise practice for the fans.

He was at Windrock a few days ago and maybe re-aggrevated it?

Hurt my back earlier in the year and couldn't ride XC, but could do all the DH I wanted. Backs are funny lil monsters.
  • 10 1
 Maybe I'm vastly underestimating the skill of a pro rider but does that double between the trees seem a little high risk, very low reward to anyone else?
  • 3 0
 High risk, high reward *
  • 1 0
 I looked at it when it was first built this summer. It’s not so bad. The gap is definitely big enough to fit thru without too much trouble. I’m no worldcup rider and I’d hit it.
  • 1 0
 Look's really cool on TV, probably some brilliant board room decision.
  • 1 1
 @HurricaneCycles: That's good to hear. Seeing a lot of riders injured on jumps made me question that placement. The jump by itself looks fun but at race pace/getting tired is a different situation especially since it looks like there's a turn before the take off
  • 2 0
 The tree jump is right at the top of the track. It’s uphill of the big rock gap that got everyone’s attention last time. Fatigue won’t be a concern yet. @Rokcore:
  • 1 0
 I was thinking that too but as long as the run up is good it shouldn't be a problem, there's plenty of room between the trees. They regularly hit lines that require more precision than that
  • 1 0
 @HurricaneCycles: seeing the videos today the gap is much bigger than it looked in the photo. Plenty of room on either side and run up to landing is good
  • 10 2
 That picture of Gwin looked Intense.
  • 8 2
 There's a big ad for the yeti e-bike on the homepage
  • 4 0
 Which goes to a dead page, not live yet on their site.
  • 3 0
 What is it with Marshy? Some time ago I think I have read that he will retire as a mechanic and now he´s back but ended up in the wrong pits?
  • 1 0
 I was surprised to see him at Scott in the photo as well. You’re right though, a year ago it was announced he wouldn’t be Greg’s mechanic anymore:
www.pinkbike.com/news/greg-minnaar-and-jason-marsh-end-successful-partnership-after-8-years-and-28-world-cup-podiums.html
  • 3 0
 Ugly divorce. Mashy kept the fenders. GM kept the V10s. jk
  • 4 0
 Didn't Seagrave win in Les Gets? So she has the first win a few months ago...
  • 4 0
 I feel like every american has a cousin that looks like Bernard in that picture
  • 1 0
 Oh man I can't wait! The racing has been so good this year, bitter sweet that this is the last round. They really need to do a southern hemisphere dh series. Back in 2019, this was one of the most exciting races I'd ever seen. The drama between Amaury, Loic, and Danny was legendary. What a race!
  • 5 0
 Brook legend
  • 6 2
 Can someone explain what Trek is doing to those pivot bolts?
  • 46 0
 Torqueahawking them obviously?
  • 6 0
 Pretty sure they do that to test the gullibility of Pink Biker readers...
  • 2 0
 Is that an air hose connector or grease port on the top of the GT Fury's rear shock? Or are they just using what ever bolts they have access to????
  • 8 0
 I am guessing it's the attachement point for their telemetry system
  • 5 3
 Is the World Cup becoming a true WORLD Cup once it's leaving the so numerous european tracks? I know my question is biaised ^^
  • 15 0
 I read once that the world is more than Europe and a splash of the USA.
  • 8 0
 I've always thought a race some where in like S. Korea or Japan would be sick. I know the mtb scene isn't as big over there but it would be so unique compared to the other race experiences and they certainly have the terrain for it!
  • 3 0
 ITs a very fair point tbh, would love to some southern hemisphere stuff. EWS manages to do it just fine tbh!
  • 1 0
 @yoimaninja: North Africa / Middle East as well could get some pretty interesting track designs.
  • 1 0
 Would love to hear from the riders and the mechanics what they will do to reduce risks of flat tire or rim breakage on race runs. I just can’t see how I could ride through this full speed without smashing my rims.
  • 2 0
 Spot on, this whole park is a tire/wheel killer
  • 1 0
 I'm guessing most of them are double layering rim tape, running cushcore or some variation of that with the heaviest casing dh tires they can find (wire bead). Paired with a few knocks on wood...
  • 4 0
 Does anybody else read those intros in Rob Warners voice?
  • 2 0
 There are so many light pockets in the woods at Snowshoe. I am expecting tons of great photos.
  • 3 0
 Let’s gooooo
  • 3 0
 Drink some beer!
  • 7 6
 Pabst Blue Ribbon! LOL. That stuff will leave your head wrecked the next day!
  • 9 0
 I want to know if Amaury will go for the moonshine again. He was drinking it like water after the last round, and ended up in a nascar one piece
  • 4 0
 @snomaster: when in rome!
  • 2 0
 but won't leave your wallet wrecked.
  • 2 1
 Not much pressure for Gwin next year then. He looks like a machine in the pic though.
  • 2 1
 Yes. His look surely has the devil in it.
  • 1 0
 Got these country roads taking me home to a country state of mind for that rocky mountain high
  • 1 0
 I thought marshy retired from World Cup. Back in the Scott pit. Interesting.
  • 3 0
 Imported African dirt?
  • 1 0
 yeah what? global shipping is a nightmare and they're importing dirt?
  • 8 0
 @stanks: yeah and they are torqueing bolts with tomahawks too.
  • 1 0
 I hope they added something new to the XCO track as well. Felt the last one lacked a little.
  • 1 0
 It's completely redone this year. It incorporates the top of 2 DH trails and looks waay more technical than the grass track from last year.
  • 3 3
 Beautiful pics of all that natural beauty, I totally agree, but “land of the free” ?
You can’t say the b-word, c-word, f-word, mf-word, n-word, s-word…
  • 1 1
 Kaos, after seeing they bulldozed the amazing hip jump AND removed the whale tail of death: "I can't believe you've done this..."
  • 1 0
 I hope it stays dry for race day.
  • 10 0
 How come? Lower hareball in the wet is something every rider should experience at some point.
  • 2 0
 @Struggleteam: I have experienced it!
  • 2 0
 @Struggleteam: I think I still have PTSD from experiencing it once.
  • 3 0
 @brainbckt: Your line chooses you!
  • 2 5
 Stop me if i miss something but...
"jump was regrettably bulldozed for ski season"
"Some fresh turns out in the ski piste."
So al this bulldozer work just for one race, then bulldozer again ?
America certainly has too much oil to spend...
  • 9 0
 I see by your post you're looking for something to complain about that no one else could. Welcome to the internet. You're gonna do great here.
  • 1 0
 @blowmyfuse: Thank you Smile
  • 1 0
 Berms are a lot smaller than jumps, they just get covered by snow in the winter.
  • 1 0
 cheeky one about not seeing but hearing Vali and Jamie
  • 1 0
 DHX for Laurie Greenland / Mondraker?
  • 1 0
 That BlackBox shock looks hot!
  • 1 1
 Can’t f—kn wait! Gwin back! Brah! No chain? Win lol woooooahhhhh ooof!
  • 1 0
 Beautiful shots man.
  • 7 8
 Hell yeah, East Coast is the best coast!
  • 15 1
 yeah. ...and West Virginia is the Best Virginia!
  • 13 16
 west coast > east coast by a long shot
  • 2 3
 subjective.
  • 2 3
 @Gibbsatron: you don't say
  • 1 0
 why?
  • 1 0
 hard pass

#eastcoastrocks
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