Video: Building the Snowshoe DH World Cup Track

Sep 2, 2019 at 10:00
by Sean Leader  

My name is Sean Leader, and this is my contribution to the 2019 UCI World Cup of Downhill. In the fall of 2018, myself and Neko Mulally got word that Snowshoe West Virginia would host the World Cup finals. We took a minute away from Windrock Bike Park to get involved. In the spring of 2019, I spent 6 weeks on the mountain - posted here are the photos and videos documenting my work. I am grateful for the opportunity to tow out my excavator and contribute to such a historic mountain.

Since the early 2000s, Snowshoe has been developing downhill tracks. The mountain has a deep history in downhill racing that has shaped our Southeast downhill culture. With respect to those that have poured labor and love into this mountain - I have put my best work forward for the athletes, spectators, and media of the 2019 World Cup Finals. An event of this caliber takes a well-tuned team to execute, thank you to all that have invited me to be apart of that team.

Southern Gravity Parks, a Mulally and Leader company, is available for a large scope of trail building, bike park, and event consultation. Please reach out to inquire.

















Best of luck to all the athletes this week.


78 Comments

  • 32 0
 I'd love it if someone were to put in some good ol' fashioned skinnies on a World Cup DH course
  • 7 0
 Over a small pond Smile
  • 8 0
 I will go in this pond no questions asked.
  • 1 0
 complete with Dan-sitions and all...
  • 17 1
 I’d wait for the course preview before passing final judgment. All you really see in the video is the top, bottom, and where it crosses over the ski slope from one side to the other. There is plenty of steep and rocky tech on the rest of that track to make up for the little bit of fast flow track you see in the video. Snowshoe’s Western Territory is as legit as it gets in the S.E. for technical downhill.
  • 2 1
 Vital posted the pov video some time ago
  • 2 0
 I hope you're right. This video made the track look like nothing more than a flat, smooth, bike park-style trail..
  • 3 0
 There nothing flat or smooth about the WC track at snowshoe. Even the ski slopes are raw and chunky. What you're seeing is the go-pro effect, everything looks flat and smooth with a helmet cam.

Here's some footage of the gnar in the woods...
youtu.be/aLi1XqQCkno
  • 16 3
 Next time someone gives me an incredulous look when I tell them how much it costs to build a proper bike trail, I'm gonna send them this video.
  • 9 2
 and this video has the use of machinery to build trails, just think about all those trails where machinery isn't allowed and all trail building is done by hand
  • 19 8
 Ever consider your idea of a proper bike trail may not be someone else's idea of a proper bike trail?
  • 2 1
 @tbubier: PB needs heart feature.
  • 3 0
 @philip9175: Handworkers get paid too and production is much less efficient. Trails for all types of riding is the spice of life - from old school hand built to new school machine built.
  • 1 0
 @blum585: i know hand built trails are less efficient, was just saying that some areas where trails are built dont/wont allow machinery to be used in the area, so trails HAVE to be built by hand. i'm a fan of ALL trails if it means more trails for us to ride
  • 7 0
 This track looks so insane in person!! High speed jumps up top. Rock gaps that are truly mental and that take BIG TIME commitment to ride fast, followed by endless super tech rock gardens. Anyone who hates on this track has never ridden it. All fitted to 1,500 beautiful West Virginia vertical feet!
  • 2 0
 Looking forward to seeing on the Redbull feed, after a classic rough weekend at MSA.
  • 3 0
 Agreed, it go from flat-out off-camber and raw to gnar-berm-gnar-berm-gnar on upper hareball. Then a nearly vertical shoot dumps you into the super gnar of lower hareball. This track will not disappoint.
  • 8 0
 Heads up, very little/no cell service in and around Snowshoe, WV. Even more reason this place is EPIC! Limit your distractions, enjoy the beauty and nature that surrounds you.
  • 9 1
 This is going to be an interesting last race. New venue and no clear season winner yet.
  • 6 6
 Too bad the venue has absolutely no idea what it’s doing from a visitor & spectator standpoint; pretty sure they think they are putting on a golf tournament. Hope everyone going knows to trade in their chainsaws for “quiet” signs to hold up.
  • 5 0
 @ninjatarian: Please elaborate
  • 7 1
 @Ride12: Lift riding is closed to the public for the week, no cameras with removable lenses, no bottles / bladders over .5 liters, no alcohol - security will be conducting bag checks as enforcement at which point you can pay $50 to be allowed in.

One can safely assume that security will not be allowing chainsaws in.
  • 3 0
 @ninjatarian: not doubting you, but where's that bit about security bag checks referenced? just trying to plan appropriately..
  • 2 1
 @edruscha: List of rules- you also cant develop or manipulate open fire?? lol

Looks like Pinkbike’s lineup of dogs in attendance is out for this race, as well.
  • 3 0
 @ninjatarian: Where did you find that? Looks like it was written for Maribor and I'll be shocked if Snowshoe follows
  • 2 0
 @Howardeg: I think this guy is trolling. The linked rules were obviously written for another event (Snowshoe doesn't have a Gondola).
  • 11 0
 Hahahaha no way snowshoe is like the Wild West. You could smoke crack while naked in the middle of the village and no one would do shit. Are they putting up a fence around the entire western side Because you can just walk on anywhere ? They don’t even have enough employees to keep half the restaurants open let alone enforce any rules
  • 1 0
 @ninjatarian: "Visitor must NOTmake his bodily needs outside of the toilets or otherwise pollute the area"... So female visitors can pop a squat, no issues??
  • 1 0
 @ninjatarian: said: "Lift riding is closed to the public for the week"

Actually, the ticketing info on Snowshoe's website when buying tickets says, "Tickets [...] include access to the event venue *as well as scenic lift rides*." So, not closed for the week.

Tickets were $40 up until a day or two ago. Yes, they are $50 now (and at the gate, I'm sure).
  • 3 0
 @tmargeson: Shhh, you're ruining his "local outrage".

The funny thing is, this is taking place on a mountain surrounded by woods. You can easily park, take a 30 min. bushwhack and end up track side no issue with all the beer/liquor you want stored in a backpack. If you have this big of an issue with the event, you're not doing it right.
  • 1 0
 @ninjatarian: Has anyone told @IamTheDogEzra ???
  • 7 0
 yeah Seandawg! good luck Neko
  • 3 0
 It's been interesting to watch the process slowly unfold through the summer. To Snowshoe's credit, 85% of the race course was already there. Some jumps and berms were added.
  • 23 18
 Almost looks like a slopestyle course instead of a DH course.
  • 22 1
 Its actually a sick mix of different style trails. I can't wait to see how to develops. www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rkPlij59CY
  • 3 0
 @scott-townes: That looks great, wide open first section, some cool dirt work with options and a little off camber. Good mix of trail with a long brutal rock section near the end.
  • 13 0
 Dont be fooled by a couple jumps at the start. It will be spicy af.
  • 10 0
 Probably needed to add a few smooth sections to shake yer hands out before going right back into WV chunk.
  • 1 1
 What can't you wait for the X-class X-treme long jump?
  • 1 0
 @Darknut Yeah. You clearly are an expert.
  • 1 0
 OK 1st Impression was def wrong ... gnarly as fuck!
  • 2 1
 While I do think this is going to a wicked race and this trail is going to be ace, I still feel Snowshoe had enough in hand for a WC race. I get the impression this is about having more stuff in the open for broadcasting. Whatever the case, it's going to be rockin'! Leaving Thursday morning and stoked as hell!!!!
  • 3 0
 They had to have some open sections/jumps for the tv. But don't be mistaken this race will be won on West Virginia Singletrack and you'll be there to see it when all the euros miss out.
  • 3 0
 Most of the camera platforms are in the wild zone down through lower hareball to the finish
  • 3 1
 Funny how they are using an in tree 14" bar Stihl saw for cutting 12-16" logs. Get out the big guns! LOL! I guess whatever works for the job!? Anyway,good to see hard work towards a U.S. race.Go Snowshoe! Get Er' done.!!!
  • 2 0
 There is most certainly plenty of tech in that track I've seen it come together this year. They are using a lot of lower hareball which is quite steep and VERY rocky and loose
  • 1 0
 Any new track is a welcome attraction to UCI DH racing. I’m looking forward to see how this track rides with its different mix of disciplines. The more variety we have in the series the better as it becomes a greater challenge to the riders to be able to master. I would like to see rules to vary track selection year by year, to widen the scope to a truly world-wide series! However until the UCI changes its hosting requirements, we should be greatful for any variety at all. My congratulations to Shaun and Neko, keep up the good work fellas!
  • 3 0
 Always super cool seeing all the work that goes into making courses like this
  • 4 0
 Lololol
1,500 ft. Sorry. That’s WV math
  • 1 0
 LOL!
  • 3 0
 Being a equipment operator I would kill to have a job building race courses. Props to the operator!
  • 1 0
 I'm building a jump track right now with a Cat 420e, the thing rocks. Hard work but fun to make jumps.
That articulating bucket is sweet eh?
  • 2 0
 m.youtube.com/watch?v=aLi1XqQCkno&feature=youtu.be

Here is what the track really looks like for those of you worrying it's a bike park jump line trail. Enjoy.
  • 1 0
 Love a new venue especially one as scenic as this. Track looks different and interesting. Can't wait. Only problem is the time difference for the TV.
  • 1 0
 Rules of behave: the visitor must NOT:

• make his bodily needs outside of the toilets or otherwise pollute the area

No bears allowed!
  • 2 0
 Females can apparently do as they damned well please.
  • 1 0
 Just a tip. There’s so many bears at Snowshoe, you may not want to expose yourself outdoors
  • 1 0
 @MelvieD: So only expose the tip, is what you're saying... Got it.
  • 1 0
 @mammal: haha
  • 2 0
 How long will a run be at race pace?
  • 1 0
 Based on race times in the past being close to 5 minutes id say close to 4 maybe high 3s for the fast boys and the fact this course is much more directly down the mountain than others.
  • 2 0
 Anyone know the stats with total vertical drop?
  • 2 0
 Lotus, trailbuilding, and Snowshoe. Just a few of my favorite things.
  • 2 0
 That guy is pretty handy in an excavator... just sayin.
  • 2 0
 arrhhh digger porn..could watch that for hours!
  • 1 0
 Wish someone would create a single track mini ex guide. Not a lot of info on it
  • 1 0
 Well, The dust has settled and that race was the best of the season on RedBull TV! Awesome Racing!!
  • 2 1
 Great idea; looks a lot more suited to be a bike park than a ski area!
  • 1 0
 So stoked for this! Welcome to WV everyone!
  • 1 0
 SICK..well done!!
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