There’s a lot to take in when the GoPro Mountain Games (June 6-9) come to town, and every year the event gets a little bit bigger. Throughout the years the Mountain Games have kicked off the summer season in Vail, however, one thing remains a constant: it’s one big celebration that brings together competitors and non-competitors alike to celebrate all things mountain sports.
“There’s a certain like-mindedness with all the competitors, even in different events,” says Vail resident Andrew Bare, who first competed in the timed cycling trial up Vail Pass during the GoPro Mountain Games in 2011, and has since competed in the event’s mountain biking race, and now SUP cross on Gore Creek. “Everything is so close together in the Village, so you can see these pinnacle athletes participating in tons of different events even though you haven’t been in that world before … there’s just a really big community around it.”
There’s just a really big community around it.
The most cited favorite event at the GoPro Mountain Games year after year? “DockDogs!” says Mountain Soul Yoga co-founder Julia Clarke (and pretty much everyone else we asked). Located in Lionshead, the Blue Buffalo DockDogs events — featuring everything from a speed retrieve to a big air contest into an awaiting pool — bring in crowds of people (and their pooches) to watch the GoPro Mountain Games’ slew of canine competitors showing off their aerodynamic skills.
The event’s biggest party? Definitely the TIAA Bank Climbing Wall is the place to be on Saturday, June 9 at 3 p.m. for the IFSC Climbing World Cup Finals. This event features the world’s best rock climbers leaping and lunging for their next holds in front of a packed crowd.
And even if you find yourself wandering from one event to the next in awe of it all, just remember: you’re in good company. “The idea of surrounding myself around a large group of outdoor adventure enthusiasts sounds like one of the best ways to spend a long weekend,” says Aspen-based social media influencer and mountain athlete Arielle Shipe, who will be in-attendance at this year’s Games. “My best advice would be to make as many friends as possible … This event is FULL of people ready to get out and play in the mountains with you!”
And celebrate the mountain while they’re at it.
Photo courtesy of the GoPro Mountain Games.