VAIL, Colo. – The 2015 GoPro Mountain Games came to a close Sunday amid a beehive of competition, events, and expos. For the first time in its 14-year history, the Mountain Games also featured a full day of action and concerts on Thursday, June 4, in addition to the Coors Light Steep Creek Championships at Homestake Creek that has long kicked off the four-day celebration of adventure, sports, art and music. (Read about the Steep Creek Championships HERE.)
Off Homestake Creek and back in the Vail Village for the weekend, the bruising, bashing, 8-ball challenge delivered yet another year of punishment to the kayakers who dared to navigate the human obstacle course on Gore Creek. Nouria Newman prevailed for the win in the women’s category, followed by Claire O’Hara and Maya Rosecrance. Meanwhile, the men’s division was taken by Greg Parker, followed by Brendan Wells and William Griffith.
Emily Jackson took home her eighth Mountain Games title in the women’s freestyle kayak final, noting it was “the first time that my American Kayak Team tryouts are just three days away, so by preparing for it, I was actually in Glenwood (Springs) training on the waves there,” Jackson said. “It’s a completely different mentality, but the water levels are great, and the weather is fantastic, so the combination really set me up nicely for the win today.” The UK’s Nicola Beeby followed in second and North Carolina’s Rowan Stuart took third place. (Click HERE for full 2015 GoPro Mountain Games results.)
Mathieu “The Flying Frenchman” Dumoulin, flaunting the aerials that earned him his nickname, couldn’t muster enough to best Steep Creek champ Dane Jackson in the men’s freestyle final.” The hardest thing for me has been the altitude — between my tricks it was really easy to lose my breath, so it’s something I really had to focus on,” said Dumoulin, who took third behind Jackson, and Hunter Katich second place.
Vail Valley locals took home a repeat win in Friday’s Raft Cross event, with the paddling team El Chupacabra, made up of Jordan Kurt-Mason and Jeremiah Williams, taking home the no-holds-barred R-2 mini-raft race on Gore Creek. “Well, it is one of the most feared species known to man seen in many Southern states, but it’s actually made its way to Colorado,” Kurt-Mason explained of his team’s namesake. “Jeremiah is from Texas, and I’m from Colorado, so we represent both ranges of the species.” John Anicito and Joe Sialian continued the Colorado sweep of the raft events, taking the win in Saturday’s R-2 raft sprint.
“There are definitely still some new faces, but lots of local and familiar ones,” said Nick Troutman, who took fourth place in the Steep Creek Championships and fifth in Saturday’s Down River Sprint. “A lot of the international guys and the bigger names you see everywhere, so everyone’s really good friends, and we cheer each other on.” Colorado’s Spencer Huff won the kayak sprint, followed by Washington’s Isaac Levinson and Spain’s Gerd Serrasolses. In the women’s Down River Kayak Sprint, Adriene Levknecht too top honors, followed by Newman, and Colorado’s Natalia Gray in third.
Noting the challenges of some of the weekend’s races, Levinson added that, “it’s more about the community who loves to do what we do.”