The toughest, most spectacular and most unique race on the whole GNCC tour, the race is set in the upscale ski village at Snowshoe, West Virginia’s largest ski resort. The soil of Snowshoe is a black loamy dirt that is absolutely incredible in the dry spots, then sticky and nasty when it's wet. Couple that with the rocks, roots, and everything else and it's no wonder why Snowshoe is so tough. In the tradition of the old Blackwater, which was known as “America's Toughest Race,” the Snowshoe GNCC is the ultimate test for a cross-country racer. Luckily, the course also features a few miles of open ski slopes which offer a much-needed rest. The surroundings are not only several steps above the typical GNCC course, they’re also plusher than many luxury resorts. The array of hotels, shops and restaurants provide plenty of entertainment off the race track, and the facility also hosts an amazing golf course and some of the best mountain bike trails in the country. But once the riders are on the course, everything beautiful disappears. A few miles of the course make up simply the roughest, toughest section of GNCC track you’ll see all year. Deep mud bogs, massive tree roots and hills going both up, and down, are enough to stop almost everyone, and if not for the help of the ever determined Howard's Hole “mud fleas” (GNCC fans) some sections may not be passable at all.