Snowshoe Mountain Bike - Fly Fishing WV
Our Beginnings

Gil and Mary met in the mid 70's, just outside Washington DC. Gil's father had bought the farm in Slatyfork at an auction in 1973. During a winter visit, Gil tried skiing for the first time. Ill prepared, wearing cotton sweatpants and an army surplus jacket, he fell repeatedly, became drenched and chilled and walked most of the way down the hill in disgust. That might have been the end of this mountain tale for the city boy, but a determination to learn how to ski took hold, and Gil returned to the mountain again and again.

Mary and Gil began building a separate residence near the farmhouse in 1983 and married in 1984. Gil worked odd jobs while Mary taught school. Meanwhile, cross country ski rentals grew into a thriving sideline and vacationing skiers replaced resort workers as guests in the farmhouse.

Mary and Gil were introduced to mountain bikes in the summer of 1985. After many exploratory rides with some early-era West Virginia mountain bikers, they acquired a rental fleet of bikes and began a Snowshoe Mountain Bike touring program. This touring program quickly became the flagship of the business. Fly Fishing WV has been added in a big way to the adventure choices at Elk River Touring Center. In 1988, Mary and Gil completed a five room, two story lodge with a fifty five seat restaurant, an equipment sales room and an office. Every couple of years, they add on to or remodel the Inn. In the 1990s, interest turned from skiing to snowboarding, and the Elk River Snowboard shop was added in 1988. A new snowboard shop was built in 1999.

Sons Thurston and Gus and all past and present Elk River staff have played an integral part in helping the Willis' create a unique destination for outdoor lovers.

Sue Haywood lived in West Virginia for many years and was voted North American Female Mountain Bike Racer of the Year in 2004 by Velo News magazine. In 2006 she was the 24 hour solo female national champion. She is the 2007 1st place woman of Costa Rica's La Ruta, known as "the toughest mountain bike race on the planet". Sue cut her teeth on West Virginia singletrack and loves to come back to the Mountain State to get people excited about the sport of mountain biking.

Meredith Erlewine co-owns Athens Bicycle shop in Athens, Ohio as well as a being a professional writer. She has been an avid cyclist and racer for over 15 years and has helped teach women's clinics at Elk River for 8 years. She and husband Pete are parents of Kate, born in November '08.

Greg Moore

Ski  & mountain bike tech, ski  instructor, mountain guide, all around trails and fixit guru. Greg is a native West Virginian who tries to spend all his work and free time in the outdoors. He is a  former pro mountain bike racer with several top finishes in state and nationally from 1995-2005. A true mountain man with a easy going disposition. He'll lead you around in the woods and be sure to get you home safe.

If you would like more information, please call us at 304-572-3771, e-mail us, or use our online request form.


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