Feb. 14, 2017 - It is with zero hyperbole that we can say that the 2016 GoPro Mountain Games were the most energetic, enjoyable mountain sports event the Colorado Rockies have ever seen. The sun was out, top athletes from around the world were in town, and more than 3,300 "pros and joes" got up and on their feet to compete in front of 67,000+ fans on a four-day romp of art, athletes, music, and mountains to celebrate 15 years of event history.
It was, in a word, amazing.
It's not surprising that the energy levels are high this year as we at the Vail Valley Foundation get fired up for this beloved event once again in 2017. Not least of all, we are stoked to launch our brand new website which, we presume, you are reading right now and we trust will make navigating, exploring, and enjoying the Mountain Games quite a bit easier.
Registration opens February 15, momentum builds all spring, and the event is unleashed upon the world June 8-11. Until then, we are busy prepping for a year that will be just as good (dare we say better!?) than last year.
A QUICK OVERVIEW OF WHAT'S NEW
Speaking of unleashing the event, let's start with the dogs.
This year we welcome, for the first time ever, a second dog tank to the ever-popular Blue Buffalo DockDogs competition zone (appropriately located in Dog Town at the base of Golden Peak). That means the DockDogs jumping competitions will be going on, side-by-side, with the new "dueling dogs" competition, where two dogs race head-to-head, dog v dog, on a retrieve.
BTW, if you haven't seen this great doggie slow-mo video from 2015, definitely give yourself two minutes to check it out: https://youtu.be/tmud-TO4oXg
Last year we experimented with the idea of bringing GoPro Mountains of Music back to the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on the eastern side of the Village.
Bonfire dub and Stephen Marley stacked the venue, the vibe was incredible, and it was clear before the first set break that, yes, we most definitely needed to do this again. In fact, we're now going to do three nights of free concerts at the Amphitheater with an amazing lineup of artists locked and loaded for 2017:
Thursday June 8 @ Ford Amphitheater
6-6:40 p.m. Bonfire Dub & Kids
7:15-8:30 p.m. White Denim
9:00-close Moon Taxi
Friday June 9 @ Ford Amphitheater
6-6:40 p.m. Brother's Keeper
7:15-8:30 p.m. The Marcus King Band
9 p.m.-close Keller Williams Grateful Grass
Saturday June 10 @ Ford Amphitheater
6-6:40 p.m. Town Calvary
7:15-8:30 p.m. Trevor Hall
9 p.m.-close Nahko & Medicine for the People
Running in the right direction
It is with a tinge of sadness that we say goodbye to the Vail Pass Half Marathon. Beloved by the few, the proud, and the extremely fit, the event will be re-incarnated with a hill climb in Vail that will whet the whistle of our vertically-inclined runners and yet will also take place in the Village, where thousands of spectators can experience schadenfreude at our competitor's expense. A fun run for all ages is also in the works, so stay tuned for more details as we draw nearer to the event.
The new TriggerPoint Ultimate Mountain Challenge
Every year, the toughest of the tough have taken on the challenge of the TriggerPoint Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the GoPro Mountain Games. Kayak/SUP, run, mountain bike and road bike: four races in two days, to the winner go the spoils. After 10 years, we're now in a place where we can take this event to the next level.
In 2017, we bring out an all-new format for this event
Starting this year, everyone who registers will also be entered in the Trigger Point Ultimate Mountain Challenge (UMC). It will be graded on a point system, and finishing any of our athletic events will gain YOU, the athlete, points in the UMC.*
Each event will be given a multiplier based on difficulty (1, 2, and 3), and athletes will be given points according to their finish ranking. Finish first in a most-difficult event (x3), and you'll get 9 points. Participate in a fun and untimed event like the mud run, and you'll get 1 point. Bonus points will be given for "cross-discipline" participation.
A leaderboard will track the event in real-time "mountain time" throughout the weekend, and fans will get to cheer on the event's most active athletes from all age groups and all disciplines.
Paths to victory
Mountain Games registration will make it easy: We'll provide a few "paths to victory" in paddle/run/bike and all-around.
Each of these will play to a competitor's strengths, but also include cross-disciplinary events (e.g. The "paddler" path to victory will enter you into more paddle events but also include a run and a bike event). These "paths to victory" UMC registration packages will provide a one-click itinerary for a competitor. From there, athletes can add items to their registration to give themselves the best chance at the podium based on their own ability and existing schedule.
Taking part is easy:
- Check out the list of events at mountaingames.com.
- Create an itinerary for your Mountain Games weekend, or choose from several "paths to victory" packages based on your areas of expertise.
- Paddle/Run/Bike hard for your piece of the $8,000 prize purse!
Think of it as a "choose-your-own-adventure" mountain endurance race. Top-three finishers in men's and women's will win prize money ($2500, $1,000, $500) and be featured in key media outlets. It's time for a whole new era of the UMC to begin!
*DockDogs, IFSC World Cup bouldering, and Slackline Industries Invitational will not be included in the UMC. IFSC World Cup bouldering and slackline are invitation only, and DockDogs is a non-human event.
The Mountain Games draw all the best in mountain and outdoor sports, and this year the lineup is looking like a good one. We are optimistic that the following premier athletes will once again attend our event in 2017, and stay tuned as many more are signing up and coming our way.
Paddle + river surf
El Chupacabra raft team
GoPro Bomb Squad
Pedro Rafael Marques (Brazil)
Itsuki Hosoe (Japan)
Alex Mason (USA)
Martín Hernandez (USA)
Benni Schmid (Germany)
Louis Boniface (France)
Emi Gimenez (Argentina)
Micahel “Massivo” Rebelo (Portugal)
Teruto Tanaka (Japan)
"Mud Stud" Jess Manning
Courtney Adams and "Whiskey"
Tom Dropik and "Jordan"