Creators take center stage at CoLab at the GoPro Mountain Games
GoPro Mountain Games are all about playing outdoors, be it through music or athletic endeavors. This summer, the CoLab Creator Stage in Solaris Plaza adds more fun to the games: A stage where four to six interactive presentations take place daily from some of the biggest names in the outdoor and creator industries.
The interactive panel discussions and creative demonstrations kick off at noon today, with CoLab organizers Wade Holland and Abby Wren showing people how to create more engaging short videos on phones. The day’s inspiration continues with Rafa Jaime and Omar Alvarez, Marty Music’s interactive jam session and Tim Ham painting a mural live.
Holland, a video creator and former competitive mogul skier, and Wren have participated in prior Mountain Games (Wren painted faces while Holland produced video), and they wanted to offer a space where creators and spectators could come together to share knowledge, so they worked with the Vail Valley Foundation to curate the CoLab lineup. Now, people can see, and meet, digital creators up close and in person.
“What was missing was the element of collaboration between different aspects of the outdoor community,” Holland said. “We wanted to celebrate and embolden the spirit of the shared ethos of stoke for the outdoor world and creating and collaborating together.”
“You get siloed into doing your thing, and it can make collaboration challenging,” makeup artist and Different is Dope advocate Wren said. “So having this space will really embody what the GoPro Mountain Games represent.”
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The CoLab lineup features adventure chef Adam Glick, NFL linebacker Brian Peters, father-and-son athletes Todd and Kai Jones, survivalist Laura Zerra, TikTok’s Handpan Man, skiing legend Chris Davenport and many more.
Presentations are designed to be interactive, not a sit-and-watch type experience.
“The collaborative spirit is what we’re really trying to strengthen. We want kids and the audience to get involved,” Holland said. “It speaks to where the future of the Mountain Games is going. It’s always been so great at celebrating the outdoors, and this is showing how you can be celebrating the outdoors with different perspectives globally.”
Each creator speaks to the core values of mountain culture, while sharing different perspectives. For example, Wren had always been active in the outdoors, but when she lost her hair due to alopecia, she didn’t feel like she fit into what an “outdoorsy girl” should look like. So, she started painting on her head to express her femininity, and it reconnected her to nature and taught her to “show up however you want,” she said. “It’s important to share that with the world so it does feel inclusive. … It’s a powerful way to spread the message of acceptance in the outdoor community, because getting out in the outdoors can be a little intimidating.”
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“She represents a very nontraditional look of someone who’s an environmental and outdoor advocate,” Holland said.
Similarly, The Handpan Man, who presents at 10 a.m. Sunday, has used his connection with nature to create a conversation around mental health.
“He’s not a traditional musician or athlete, but he’s using music and the outdoors for healing,” Holland said. “It’s a huge step for others to go, ‘wow’ and see how the outdoors can be healing.”
Like the Mountain Games themselves, one of the main messages CoLab revolves around involves inspiring people to get outside and play in a sustainable way.
“If we have a shot at really preserving wilderness, you have to get people to care about it, to want to do something and take action. It’s not going to be the science (that spurs action). It’s going to be about people forming a relationship with it,” Holland said. “You have to give people an opportunity to partake. A lot of people don’t even have the basic concept of pack it in, pack it out.”
HoneyTrek will present 11 tips to travel more sustainably at 11 a.m. Saturday. The couple has been on an 11-year honeymoon, traveling the world constantly; they had originally planned a year-long honeymoon on six continents but had so much fun, they found a way to make it a lifestyle. The last time they owned a key to an apartment or house was December 2011.
“It’s not a vacation when you go three months plus; it’s a new way to live,” Anne Howard of HoneyTrek said.
They strive to leave places they visit a little better than they found them, whether that’s through helping the community or the environment. For example, they’ve volunteered to clean up beaches with Surfrider Foundation and helped plant trees in Greece. They try to offset the carbon footprint that flights or driving generate by doing things like giving up meat and dairy, stating that a plant-based diet decreases a carbon footprint by 80%, and, at the end of the year, tallying flights and giving back to environmental causes, they said.
- Wade Holland & Abby Wren | 12:00 PM
Welcome to the CoLab – How to Create Epic Video on Your Phone
- Rafa Jaime & Omar Alvarez | 3:30 PM
The Blind Mountaineer & Guide on a Mission to Summit Everest
- Marty Music | 4:30 PM
Interactive Jam Session with Youtube’s Premier Guitar Instructor
- Timmy Ham aka SLOTH | 5:15 PM
The Future of the Artist: Live Mural Painting with Creator and Visual Artist, SLOTH
- Shyanne Orvis | 10:00 AM
Art on the Fly with Professional Fly Fishing Guide, Travel Host and Mother
- The Mirnavator | 11:00 AM
Redefining Running & Shattering Stereotypes in the Mountains
- Brian Peters | 12:00 PM
Breath Mastery – Cool Down and Level Up Your Performance, Recovery & Life
- Laura Zerra | 3:30 PM
How to Thrive Off-Grid with Survivalist & Adventure Traveler Laura Zerra
- Adam Glick | 4:30 PM
Culinary Skills and Cutlery Demo with THE Adventure Chef
- Marty Music | 5:15 PM
- Interactive Jam Session with YouTube’s Premier Guitar Instructor
- HoneyTrek | 11:00 AM
Fireside Chat: 11 Sustainability Tips from an 11-Year Honeymoon
- Abby Wren
Art, Alopecia, and Adaptation
- Kai & Todd Jones | 3:30 PM
Catching up with the Jones’s: Featuring Father & Son Outdoor Duo
- Andrew Alexander King & L’Renee | 4:30 PM
Connecting to Create While Breaking Barriers in the Outdoors
- Cliff & Brodie that DOOD | 5:15 PM
How Brodie Became That Dood: The Internet’s Favorite Adventure Dog
- The Handpan Man | 10:00 AM
Music and Mountains with TikTok’s Sensation, The Handpan Man
- Vail Avalanche Rescue Dogs | 11:00 AM
Learn About Vail’s Legendary Avalanche Rescue Dog Program Firsthand from Vail Ski Patrol
- Lynn Hill | 12:00 PM
Storytime with Climbing Icon
- Wade Holland & Abby Wren | 3:30 PM
That’s a Wrap! CoLab Recap + Highlights
They meet people wherever they’re at, in terms of living sustainability; in their minds, there’s no blaming, just awareness and small steps toward more sustainable lifestyles.
“Knowing everybody’s on a different scale of sustainability because of what they can afford and what they want to do, we’re not shaming anyone or expecting everyone can be on the pinnacle of sustainability,” Mike Howard said. “But you can take one step on that sustainability rung. You can do a little bit better and be inspired and learn.”
So whether you’re interested in music, painting, skiing, cooking, fly-fishing, dogs or just about anything else related to creativity and the outdoors, CoLab is the place to be.
“The CoLab is a stage where creators, innovators and athletes can come together and unify their creativity into a central space to embody the spirit of collaboration that’s inspired through the mountains,” Wren said.