The 2016 GoPro Mountain Games occurred June 9th-12th, in Vail, Colorado. In the low valley of the rising Rockies, over 60,000 spectators and 2,500 athletes from around the world gathered to one of the biggest summer games for nearly activity.
For the past 15 years, Vail Resorts has made a commitment to host the GoPro Mountain Games in an effort to showcase world class athletes of all ages and species in hopes to inspire others to participate among the professionals.
Chris Sharma lays into his final move before the leap.
Rivalries and beef are often settled on this river.
The list of events is extensive, making it impossible to catch everything which means there is something for everyone to enjoy. With over 25 events and more added every year, you will find activities spread across the Vail Valley, along with vendors handing out free swag and cold beers to enjoy under the blazing Colorado sun yet, crisp mountain air.
As the sun subsides, live music gathers as do the older crowds ready to take advantage of the altitude, to save money on drinks and bust moves at free concerts throughout the weekend. Got a little hippie in your blood? Get groovy at the Shakedown Bar for live cover bands and the Big Bear Bistro next door will cure that hangover with a proper bacon, egg and cheese with Gatorade.
Vail Valley offers countless shops and cold micro brews to enjoy.
The local Vail community is a tight knit group of elite athletes who take pride in their town and welcome all others from around the world to participate whether it be amateurs and professionals, young and old; everyone has a chance to prove their worth.
Popular events in which amateurs participated were the Mud Runner, SUP and Kayaking Supercross, Dock-dogs and Fly-fishing. Although some believe #1 or nothing, many people test their skills in good old fashioned shenanigans, reflecting the true nature of Coloradans; be wild! If you wish to participate, it is a simple process to complete a registration form and “spots” never fill up.
DockDogs have two goals, jump and jump far.
A favorite among the locals, the MudRunner attracts those of Coloradan character.
Vail Resorts is known for hosting National events leaving you with many options for hotels and condo rentals with a possible, hefty price tag.
Summit County is a quick 20 minute drive from Vail where you can find cheaper options and allow you to escape the crowds to explore other wonderful mountain towns such as Silverthorn and Frisco. Yet, many of the visitors had budgets but took advantage of free designated camping all along Summit County where you will find locals partying it up in the woods.
If you wish to be in the Vail valley for free, a few dirtbags (including myself) hunkered down in the Lionshead Parking Lot which is free all summer, allowing you to sleep in cars or RVs’. Traffic and parking can be an issue in the afternoon but as long as you arrive around 8:00am, you can find free parking in the town, East or West Vail and take the free buses stretching along the valley floor.
Slackline Invitationals displayed the most balanced athletes.
Photos by Oscar Ladd
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