GoPro Mountain Games organizers planning for all possibilities, hopeful for lifted restrictions
Athlete registration opens Friday
Set at the beginning of what could be a very busy summer, the June 10-13 GoPro Mountain Games could be the event that brings us back to some sense of normalcy here locally, said Tom Boyd with the Vail Valley Foundation.
“Every year, the Mountain Games is the kick off to summer in Vail,” Boyd said. “Well now, we’re going to be somewhere along the way to the post-pandemic world, so it could be the kickoff to that here too … pandemics don’t just disappear overnight, but I think this will be the first big celebration that we have. People are dying to get out and see one another, even if it means they’re physically distanced.”
In all scenarios of restrictions, the Vail Valley Foundation has a plan to accommodate athletes who want to take to many events which have long been a part of the Mountain Games. The Mountain Games, with the exception of last year’s canceled event, has been taking place in various forms in and near Vail for two decides.
This year’s celebration will take place in Vail and Vail only; other venues have been eliminated from the Mountain Games for 2021 in an effort to reduce the overall footprint in planning for all scenarios.
The attention, thus far, has been heavily focused on athletes who can register for events beginning Friday. Athletes will be given first crack concert tickets; the shows will take place live and in person at Ford Amphitheater June 10-12. The acts themselves have not yet been announced.
A new event for this year is set for the whitewater realm. While some paddlers will be disappointed to learn the Mountain Games will not take competitors up to Red Cliff for the Homestake Creek event, an exciting alternative has been presented, and kayakers will embark on a journey down the Class-IV section of Gore Creek, from the International Bridge to Stephens Park in West Vail. The event is called the Gore IV; it’s 4 miles of Class-IV rapids on lower Gore Creek.
There will be no World Cup climbing this year, no wall-to-wall line of sponsor tents along Gore Creek, but there will be several new events and new sports for locals to try, including the Bosch eBike challenge, meant to introduce mountain bikers to the electronically assisted version of their sport, and the Yeti Catch Wars, which combines whitewater rafting and fly fishing on the Eagle River.
Dozens of other competitions will await anglers, bikers, trail runners, disc golfers, paddlers and more; registration goes live on MountainGames.com on Friday.