JEFFERSON-Mt. Jefferson is no longer just known for its picturesque overlooks and quaint family picnic areas.
The state park has grabbed the attention of a group of outdoor enthusiasts that previously had no connection to its towering peaks and daunting downhill switchbacks.
These days, one of the county’s prime outdoor attractions is getting a little love from out west as the mountain has become known as one the premiere downhill treks for longboard racers.
The mountain even landed the No. 2 spot in “Skate Slate” magazine’s Top 10 rides this summer. This meteoric rise of exposure can be attributed to last year’s inaugural downhill skateboard race.
“Last year’s race went well,” said N.C. Park Ranger Joe Shimel told county commissioners Monday morning. “We had the top three riders in the world.”
After ideal practice conditions, riders were met with a wall of water as five inches of rain felt on raceday. That didn’t stop riders from completing several memorable heats that drew several ‘oohs’ and ‘awws’ from locals who have never seen anything like the race before.
This year’s race – scheduled to launch at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 23 – is also one promised to excite. The races will continue into Sunday. Race organizers have already capped the number of riders at 96 with some longboarders traveling as far as New York and California to test their mettle.
“That’s a really big deal,” said Shimel.
County officials have also taken notice of the race’s appeal. Several departments have already pledged their support, including parks and recreation, which will supply bleachers for the growing fanbase.
“We’ll have riders from all over the world, including the top rider from Brazil,” said Shimel.
Riverview to get funding
In other business, county commissioners approved a request of $9,670 from Carol Pennington of the Riverview Community Center for roof repairs. The center has already received a grant of $15,000 from the Blue Ridge Electric Membership Foundation.
Other fundraising initiatives by the center have also helped to chip away at the remaining deficit. Pennington said it’ll take roughly $32,000 to pay for the needed roof replacement.
“Total replacement of the roof in question will eliminate the costly chronic leaks in the building that require constant patching,” Pennington wrote in a letter to the commissioners. “By fixing this leak, it will prevent a mold issue which causes allergic and respiratory problems and other issues.”
Reach Jesse Campbell at 336-846-7164.