Your Complete Guide to the 2016 GoPro Mountain Games
The largest celebration of adventure sports, music, and mountain lifestyle comes to Colorado with the 15th annual 2016 GoPro Mountain Games
The 2016 GoPro Mountain Games return to Colorado’s Vail Valley, celebrating their 15th year as the country’s largest gathering of adventure sports athletes and the mountain culture that surrounds the lifestyle. Professional and amateur athletes from around the world converge upon the mountains and rivers of Vail to compete in nine sports for more than $110,000 in prize money.
While the GoPro Mountain Games are all about the fun, laid back lifestyle of outdoor sports, it’s not all about hanging out in the sun with your friends, watching adventure athletes compete and drinking in Colorado’s craft beer cultural benefits… Nope, some of these adventure sports athletes are professionals and have come to Colorado’s Vail Valley to win prizes and advance their competitive rankings. The GoPro Mountain Games attract regional and global athletes, offering more than $100,000 in cash prizes, the largest in the mountain sports category. It’s expected to bring more than 60,000 spectators to the Valley, The athletes can compete in any of nine overall sports and 25 disciplines including: x-country and road cycling, freestyle, 8-Ball, sprint and extreme kayaking, raft cross, World Cup Bouldering, stand up paddle sprint and surf cross; as well as trail, mud and road running, fly-fishing, dog competitions and the Ultimate Mountain Challenge.
“This year, the number 15 is going to occupy a special place in our hearts at the GoPro Mountain Games,” said Dave Dressman of the Vail Valley Foundation, which hosts the event. “Whether you come in 15th place in your event, or you are 15 years old, or you’ve competed in all 15 years of the event – be ready for some very fun and spirited rewards and prizes this year.”
What you need to know
The games run Thursday through Sunday, with the most of the big events happening over the weekend. If you’re looking for a party, Friday and Saturday nights in the Vail Village come with late-night DJs and reggae shows.
What to See
The Mountain Games’ hosts their first Enduro mountain bike race on Friday, June 10 in Vail’s neighbor community of Eagle – 30 minutes west of Vail. In Vail Village, the best spectating will be from the International Bridge, the epicenter of the Mountain Games. From there you will be able to see the kayak freestyle final, the SUP-cross and other carnage-inducing paddle sports. Don’t miss the DockDogs events at Golden Peak, where well-trained dogs leap into pools of water for the crowd’s pleasure and for treats… oh and competitive prizes!
While the GoPro Mountain Games are a professionally competitive event – there are also several events geared towards every day weekend warriors too. Mountain bikers of all levels can try out the Everbank Cross Country Mountain Bike race up Vail Mountain. Adventurous trail runners can try out the half marathon, trail 10K, or a new 5K depending on your skill level. Or do it all in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge — a four-part race with pro and amateur divisions that combines mountain biking, trail running, road biking, and downriver paddling. You can sign up solo or as a team.
What Else to Do While You’re There
In addition to all the outdoor sports, the Mountain Games will also host several live concerts, photo contests, and film screenings to keep even the spectators going all weekend long. But if you’re only planning on attending some of the main events, then ditch the crowds and enjoy the rest of what the Eagle County has to offer. The mountain trails and whitewater rivers away from the village can feel downright empty in Colorado’s late Spring season. You can get some serious river running action in the class V drops in Gore Canyon on the Colorado River, or take a leisurely float through red rock desert landscape on the class II rapids further downstream. If you’re into dry land then head out on the seven-mile roundtrip hike to Deluge Lake for a 2,500-vertical-foot climb through boulder fields and panoramic views of the 14,005-foot Mount of the Holy Cross.