Photo Report: Snowstorms Wreak Havoc at the 2022 Tennessee National DH

Mar 13, 2022 at 3:46
by Ed Spratt  

Yesterday, Windrock Bike Park was meant to be the host of the 2022 Tennessee National DH finals and with it the opening round of the USDH series, but overnight weather had other ideas. After qualifying on Friday, the area had a severe storm with high winds and lots of snow, this led to some heavy damage at the bike park. The organisers made the tough decision to call off Saturday's racing to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the event. Luckily, there have been no reports of injuries.

With no final runs the organisers decided to count the qualifying runs as final results, seeing Dakotah Norton and Kailey Skelton secure the top Elite positions. In the Elite Men's race, Dakotah Norton piloted the new Intense prototype to its first big win by a huge six seconds over Austin Dooley. Nikolas Nestoroff completed the top three and was the only other rider to come within nine seconds of Dakotah. Aaron Gwin had some decent split times but some issues during his run meant he crossed the line in 12th place.

For the Women, it was Kailey Skelton who came out on top with a gap of just 0.55 seconds back to Frida Ronning. Third-placed Gracey Hemstreet was the only other rider to come inside of ten seconds of the top time and finished the day in third.

Check out some of the action from racing at this year's Tennessee National DH.

Riders were treated to bright and sunny weather for qualifying, a big difference from what would hit the venue overnight.

Everyone was out enjoying the sun on Friday.

Organiser Sean Leader travelling across the venue in style.

Riders were ready for a day of qualifying on Friday, but after the storm this would end up being race day for the pro categories.

The track was running fast and dry for qualifying with just a few wet spots to catch the riders out.

Despite the good conditions there was still plenty of challenges for the racers.

Tanner Winn hitting warp speed.

Tyler Ervin just missed out on a podium finish by 1.3 seconds.

Colin Mcelyea flying through the trees on qualifying day.

Steve Estabrook kicked up some mud on his way to a 17th place qualifier and finish.

Kailey Skelton on her way to the top spot on the podium.

Aaron Gwin is looking confident on the new Intense prototype.

bigquotesThank you to everyone who is supportive and understanding to the situation. Our team, myself, and my family have poured our heart into the event and our downhill community. We are putting in 100% effort to salvage the rest of the festival and get our amateur downhill and Enduro racers the opportunity to compete.Sean Leader

Luckily no one was injured but the pits took a big beating during the overnight storms.

You can check the final results taken from qualifying here.


  • 107 0
 Here in Appalachia we have a saying…If you want it to rain/snow, plan an event.
  • 2 0
 if theres a race, there will be rain!
  • 5 1
 Ummm...I thought it was "If you like the weather, just wait 30'll change."
  • 2 0
 @preach: i have heard that one as well. in moto its very common if theres a race, there will be rain.
  • 1 0
 @GrizzlyAaron: years in Boone'll go from sunny and 70degrees to 50mph winds, to sleet, to snow in 45min.
  • 1 0
 @preach: that's New England...
  • 96 0
 Aaron Gwin and some other pros setup a donation to help out the privateer and AM's that had their pits wrecked:
  • 2 0
 Ahh that's super cool.
  • 46 4
 That weather is snow joke!
  • 56 5
 This snowflake thing in the USA is getting out of hand.
  • 7 4
 @mi-bike: especially in the south
  • 2 2
 @SterlingArcher: ice don’t know mang
  • 1 0
 @pedalgnash: i meant the rampant insecurity that prevades
  • 39 3
 Perhaps February/march is a bit early to start the dhse considering there are weather issues each year it seems?
  • 21 9
 It seems winter has moved from December into March instead.
  • 38 34
 @Sscottt: it's the global warming
  • 54 28
 @conoat: Its the "change" part in "climate change". I was going to avoid saying the obvious but yup... we have screwed things up so much even winter is confused when its supposed to happen.
  • 50 9
 @Sscottt: december is mostly fall. it is currently still winter.

I don't thing it is the winter that is confused....
  • 2 3
 @Sscottt: not when but where too. It’s moving around.
  • 32 5
 @Sscottt: Mother’s Day blizzard back in 1977 has 8” in PA I think? Weird weather isn’t new LOL
  • 26 7
 @conoat: Sorry... east coast skier and fat biker here. The snow on the mountains tell me when winter starts. It has definitely changed its time frame and quantity as of recent.
  • 8 4
 @DHhack: the frequency of it is new though.
  • 8 7
 @5afety3rd: not really. Used to do Deals Gap sport bike vacation every year mid to end of April, when it was warm enough. TN/NC border south of Knoxville.
  • 29 10
 @DHhack: weird weather is not new. Weird weather so frequently and increasingly frequently is new..
  • 6 2
 @Sscottt: totally. Luckily we’re going all out to stop climate change! Oh wait…
  • 17 19
 @Sscottt: sorry....I am just a common sense human that understands that a single(or 100 for that matter)persons life span and rudimentory observations do not a climate model make. the calendar tells me when winter starts.
  • 14 7
 @conoat: The Lunisolar calendar was invented around 2500 years ago based on astronomical constants that aren't enough for us to notice. Humans have opinions and can argue about it, but plants and animals are currently adapting by 'changing' where they live in order to simply survive, and apparently with no political affiliations.
  • 1 0
 @Sscottt: You mean From February It was early spring there in Feb.
  • 3 0
 @DHhack: March 13, What became known as the "Storm of the Century" or the "Blizzard of '93" left 12 people in WNC dead, much of the region without electricity for days and disrupted normal life in the mountains for a week or more.

Category 5 "Extreme" (RSI/NOAA: 24.63)
Satellite image by NASA of the storm on March 13, 1993, at 10:01 UTC.
Maximum snowfall or ice accretion Snow – 56 in (140 cm) at Mt. Le Conte, Tennessee 318 fatalities
  • 4 0
 @Sscottt: This stuff happened decades ago - in the 90's my pop up tent went airborne, up and over a 20' chainlink fence, and landed inside the adjacent tennis courts
  • 6 0
 @Sscottt: big snows in March aren't new
  • 2 0
 @conoat: but that’s how Americans think science is conducted lol
  • 2 0
 @Sscottt: or our arbitrary calendars need more adjusting?
  • 7 6
 @suspended-flesh: there are no true constants. that said, saying ignorant shit like "the weather is different/unexpected so it must be climate change" is just humans trying to find meaning where there is only randomized chaos. Not much different than religion....oh wait...
  • 9 1
 Humans are so arrogant as to think we are going to put a plan together to "fix" the climate. I'm all for being more responsible and trying for as much clean-energy that makes sense (if it's actually clean), recycle, clean the oceans, get better about waste-disposal, etc. but the other stuff is all political trying to put large scale efforts together, carbon taxes, etc. It's all just someone's get rich (or get power) scheme, or their tax shelter.
  • 3 4
 @yupstate: YES. thank you for the common sense, logical and rational answer that the world needs...rather than climate alarmism based on flawed models and skewed data. (and random angry scandanavian kids that can't even drive yet)
  • 4 1
 @5afety3rd: Thanks! that was super helpful.
  • 1 0
 @5afety3rd: i would have went with "You're a flawed model!!!"... missed opportunity
  • 29 4
 Think about how those tents would have looked, had they subscribed to Outlook+ and read all those articles on how to make your tent survive a snowstorm. If only they hadn't been so focused on displaying their power meters...
  • 13 0
 Just curious, did anyone know the snow was coming Friday night? Or was it an absolute surprise, even those paying attention to weather forecasts? I suspect no one anticipated the winds based on tent destruction. But what about the snow?
  • 10 0
 We definitely knew the snow was coming for several days in advance. Now the wind is a little more up in the air, but should not have been a shocker to anyone.
  • 6 0
 Forecast kept switching from rain to snow and I think everyone around here (SWVA) was pretty skeptical given the warm days we've been having for the past couple weeks. Ended up getting about an inch of snow here but those up north appear to have gotten 4 or 5.
  • 2 0
 @GTChE: makes sense, March can be tricky!
  • 1 0
 @normalrat: yeah, I could see how people from outside the area could of been skeptical.
  • 5 0
 @JDFF: in like a lion out like a lamb. Up here in eastern canuckastan we have had more snow in March so far then in all of February. Sad to see the destruction of all those tents.
  • 1 0
 @pink505: down here in the balmy PNW, our March has definitely been cooler and wetter than all of February. This coming week will be fairly wintery too. It's all about the Jetstream location for us. But honestly, no idea how the weather works in Tennessee. So that's why I was curious.
  • 2 0
 They were calling for snow, of varying inch totals, and high winds for days. This was not really a pop up surprise storm.
  • 2 0
 @normalrat: That's exactly how we felt here in Fredericksburg before the storm that shut down 95 for over 24 hours. Even our DOT dropped the ball on that one.
  • 1 0
 @normalrat: Yea east coast storms like this often have a very fine line between snow and rain, especially later in the winter like this. A few degrees of temperature can mean the difference between a soaking rain storm, or a foot of snow. One spot can get a foot of show while somewhere 30 miles away gets all rain.
  • 1 0
 Wind rock is pretty far away from
The coast lol @sino428:
  • 2 0
 This. High winds absolutely forecasted. When the family goes to the beach we take down the canopy at night (also for sea turtles, for sure). Hard to understand the shock over canopies being mangled.
  • 1 0
 @freeridejerk888: sorry I should not have just said ‘east’, not ‘east coast’. Is that better?
  • 1 0
 I mean it’s closer to the mid west than the Atlantic so yeah lmao @sino428:
  • 1 0
 @freeridejerk888: The storms that hit that area are generally the same storms that then move up the east coast and hit the mid Atlantic and new England, as this one did.

Just like in the Western United states people refer to places like Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, etc as the "west", especially when talking about mountain activities like biking or skiing. Even though those states are much closer to the mid-west than the west coast. Similarly, when those places get big winter storms they are generally west coast storms, where moisture flows inland from the pacific, first hitting the Pacific NW and coastal ranges of California, then moving inland.
  • 14 0
 Windrock, location name checks out.
  • 11 0
 Gutted for the whole crew that pours everything they have into this event, not the outcome anyone wanted to see.
  • 11 0
 DVO: " Kick ass MTB suspension" .. and I thought that's the opposite of how your rear shock should behave.
  • 10 0
 "Pit Bits" slideshow
  • 7 0
 I see Norco builds strong bikes and banners.
  • 5 0
 Who is Sean Lender? I know a Sean Leader at Windrock.
  • 13 2
 that's Leader's alterego. he is really really generous....
  • 4 0
 Clue is in the name I guess.
  • 3 0
 Bummed tonse all but the yt booth crushed
  • 3 0
 KHS booth remained standing too
  • 2 0 west coast venues on the USDH calendar? Is this just an East coast thingie?
  • 1 0
 We had our run.
  • 5 2
 The weather was there to punish YT
  • 3 0
 This is what happens when the snowflakes go overboard.
  • 1 0
 Dam that looks bad. Glad Friday was nice. We got the same storm in cincy.
  • 3 0
 Easy up graveyard.
  • 1 0
 Sounds like a typical race weekend.
  • 6 6
 What was YT doing there anyway? They don’t even have a rider in the starter list right?
  • 15 0
 They are a bike company with a presence the US doing bike things at a bike event.
  • 2 0
 Brooke Anderson
  • 1 2
 Dak won the race on a YT.
  • 4 0
 @pcloadletter: he wasn’t riding a YT lol
  • 1 0
 Ouch$$$ those pop ups ain’t cheap!
  • 5 5
 Damn almsot like you coulda checked the weather and not had your tent destroyed
  • 2 1
 They got more snow in that one storm then Omaha did the entire season.
  • 2 0
 Good looking Catahoula!
  • 2 0
 Lousy Smarch weather.
  • 1 0
 So no one watches the weather channel?
  • 4 5
 And who picked these dates for a race
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