Winter may be coming to a close – and with it, skiing season – but that does not mean Snowshoe Mountain Resort is about to let the remaining weeks of March slip by quietly. A number of events have been planned leading up to the season’s March 27 close, and this past weekend, locals and resort guests gathered at Shavers Centre Plaza for the 2016 Homegrown Music Festival.
Described as a “down home celebration of the Appalachian spirit,” the festival kicked off Friday with participants in Saturday’s cardboard box sled race gathering at the resort’s Connections Nightclub to construct their vehicles.
Using supplies provided by the resort – cardboard, duct tape, paint, plastic and more – the teams set to work constructing their sleds.
Saturday’s festivities kicked off at 11 a.m. with a series of Appalachian-inspired winter games – the first of which was a cornhole competition. Following that competition, nine competitors rose to the challenge to see who would be the first to finish their chunk of pepperoni. Next came the Toilet Seat Horseshoe and Bobbin’ for Pigs Feet competitions, with the cardboard box sled race rounding out the afternoon.
Eleven teams sulled up at the starting line with carefully crafted sleds in hand – one as colorful and representative of its team as the next.
Each team consisted of a pilot and a pusher, and the pusher would have only a short amount of time – and “runway” space – to give their sled an ample boost to beat out the others in their heat.
Beginning with teams Morty, Red Rocket and ‘Murica, the competition consisted of four qualifying heats and one final heat. Team Red Rocket won the race’s first heat and was soon joined by last year’s champion, team Speed Buggy – beating out teams Magical Beast and Miss Amelia’s Rocket. Snowshoe’s Ski School instructors were pitted against students as teams Ski School, Crosshairs and Rubber Dog went head-to-head in the third heat. Team Ski School won and was joined by team Nick in a Box, who defeated team Bumblebee for the final spot in the race.
“We were so close!” a member of team Morty said. “We were fast, but I feel like we kept getting sucked toward the edge of the slope that sloped down toward the [Shavers] Centre. It was fun, though, and we had a good time.”
After a neck-and-neck start in the final heat, Speed Buggy and Nick in a Box met in an unfortunate collision. Red Rocket narrowly missed the collision’s aftermath, but it was not enough to stop Ski School from sailing across the finish line unchallenged.
“It was awesome,” bystander Rusty Isaacs said with a laugh. “The sled designs were great, and the costumes were something else.”
Throughout the weekend, a number of musical guests took the Connection’s stage. “Hick hop” group Jawga Boyz, out of Athens, Georgia, performed Friday night, and the West Virginia-based Thorny Flat Mountain Boys – with special guest Elk River Rambler Paul Marganian on mandolin – was Saturday afternoon’s featured post-race performance. The Rust Kings and Shawn Owen rounded out the music for the weekend.
This upcoming weekend, March 10-13, will be jam-packed as Snowshoe prepares for its fourth annual Ball Hooter Spring Break Festival – a celebration featuring free concerts, costume contests, DJ parties and more – and Subaru Winterfest. Live performances throughout the weekend will include West Virginia locals, the Davisson Brothers Band, on Friday, with American Authors, Lissie, and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band performing Saturday.