West Virginia HillFest: A whole festival centered around a hillclimb

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
Apr 9, 2024 | hillclimb, Backroads of Appalachia, USAC, West Virginia HillFest

Photograph Courtesy West Virginia HillFest

Love cars? Love hillclimbs? Love festivals? That’s the premise behind the first-ever West Virginia HillFest on August 9-11.

Tom Zielinski and Aaron Bambach are the two gentlemen behind the endeavor. Tom’s background involves promoting events, such as 4Fest. Aaron’s history involves competing in formula cars, sports cars, prototypes and Robby Gordon Stadium Super Trucks in addition to instructing. The two look to combine their strengths with West Virginia HillFest.

We had this vision to shut down a major state highway in the mountain and race cars up it,” says Tom. “At SEMA, we met some folks from the legislature of West Virginia [who were] very motorsport-friendly and welcoming. We got connected because Aaron had done some stunt driving with Erik Hubbard [of Backroads of Appalachia]. All roads led to West Virginia.”

[An easy place to host a race? How about West Virginia?]

Specifically, it led to Snowshoe Mountain Resort. Being a large resort, it offers the ability for the promoters to create something much more than just a hillclimb.

We want to create a cool cultural event,” Tom says. “The fact that we get to race cars up a mountain road that’s closed is just the cherry on the top.”

In fact, the promoters are calling this event a “car culture celebration.” Sure, there’s a hillclimb. Indeed, it’s geared toward the weekend warrior type of racer. The USAC-sanctioned competition will be open to a wider variety of vehicles than other hillclimbs, they say. Tom and Aaron also added to expect some bigger names, with some star power, in the hillclimb, too, but the focus remains on the grassroots participants. But there will be much more than a hillclimb at West Virginia HillFest.

Other events include drifting demos, scenic drives, car displays, food and drink, and live music. Even if you’re not a participant, Tom and Aaron stress that spectators are encouraged to come and enjoy the festival-like atmosphere they’re looking to produce.

For more information, visit westvirginiahillfest.com.

Editor's Note: Grassroots Motorsports is not affiliated with the West Virginia HillFest.

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Comments
Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
4/9/24 2:41 p.m.

Well, I like everything about this. I will see if I can coordinate that time in my schedule. Cool.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
4/9/24 5:04 p.m.

West Virginia and neighboring Kentucky are definitely making moves to do more motorsport activities. Stay tuned for more.

wake74
wake74 Reader
4/9/24 8:20 p.m.

Anyone venture a guess as to how many trips up the course you would get per day?

BoxheadTim
BoxheadTim GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
4/9/24 8:35 p.m.

Hmm. Snowshoe isn't that far away from here. I should probably check this out.

ralleah
ralleah GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
4/9/24 8:36 p.m.
J.A. Ackley said:

West Virginia and neighboring Kentucky are definitely making moves to do more motorsport activities. Stay tuned for more.

They're also making moves to restrict the rights of many motorsports enthusiasts. For example , one of the 30 anti-trans bills in this year's WV state legislature would send me to jail for attending the hill climb if kids are there. That is not hyperbole. Both of the regular sites for my home region rallyx,wdcr scca, are in WV.

jfaz
jfaz New Reader
4/10/24 7:13 a.m.

Registered and hotel booked! Excited to see more motorsport events in this area, and this one is nice as their things for the family to do besides car events, which they care very little about.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso UltraDork
4/10/24 8:51 a.m.

If you've never been to Snowshoe, it's a must. Amazing place to visit any time of year.  Bonus is the Cass Scenic Railroad is there as well. Cant recommend that place enough. 

Note that the surrounding area is a "radio silence zone" meaning no cell service. I recommend downloading your map before traveling to that area. One wrong turn (get it?) and you'll be in trouble. 

DavyZ
DavyZ Reader
4/10/24 1:32 p.m.

Good to see a major event in the making.  I am hoping the Carolinas will step up to the plate and offer similar things here.

jfaz
jfaz New Reader
4/10/24 1:34 p.m.

In reply to Scotty Con Queso :

I never had, so I'm looking forward to getting up there with the family. Hope to find some good hiking trails, biking, sightseeing, and restaurants.  Thanks for the tip about cell service!

jmabarone
jmabarone HalfDork
4/10/24 1:50 p.m.

Mentioned this to my wife.  She didn't immediately say no.  Asked the cost then followed up with "And you can use the RX7?"  Seemed promising until she said "you'll be careful, right?"

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