Game on: Mountain Games get underway |

Game on: Mountain Games get underway

Athletes practice at the International Bridge the day before the GoPro Mountain Games begin on Wednesday, June 6, in Vail. The water levels will be monitored this week with multiple competitions in mind.
Chris Dillmann |

2018 Mountain Games Schedule

All events in Vail Village, unless otherwise indicated

Thursday, June 7

Oh Chute Kayak Challenge, Dowd Chute, 10 a.m. (replaces Steep Creek Championships at Homestake)

Friday, June 8

Mountain-biking Enduro, Eagle, 8 a.m.

BMX Double Points, Eagle, 2 p.m.

BMX Pro-Am, Eagle, 4 p.m.

Raft Cross, 4 p.m.

Apres 5K, 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 9

Raft Sprint, 8 and 10 a.m.

Down-river kayak sprint, 8:30 a.m.

Stand-up paddle sprint, 10:30 a.m., and noon

Mountain bike races, 10:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.

IFSC Climbing World Cup, 3 p.m.

Kayak freestyle rodeo, 4 p.m.

Sunday, June 10

Disc golf, 9 a.m.

Vail Pass time trial, 9:30 a.m.

Stand-up paddle cross, noon

Dogs, speed retrieve big air, 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Slackline competition, 3:30 p.m.

8-ball kayaking, 4 p.m.

I’ll be honest. I have a love/hate relationship with the GoPro Mountain Games.

The next four days, starting with Thursday, June 7’s Oh Chute Kayak Challenge at Dowd Chute, is marketed as a celebration of life in the Vail Valley.

I like to call it Thursday.

I live by the Eagle River, and I see rafts and kayaks going down the water every day this time of year.

Friday, June 8’s headline events are the Enduro bike race as well as the debut of BMX at the Mountain Games down in Eagle. Umm, yeah, people here like to bike. They don’t stop when it snows with fat tires or studded tires. (Hey, Dawes Wilson, who bikes to work during the winter.)

This is just what we do, be it some form of biking, running, rafting, kayaking and so on.

The only downside of the Mountain Games is that its ulterior motive is to tell the world that this is a really awesome place to be in the summer. To anybody that’s reading this, summers really stink up here. You don’t want to come here. These are not the droids you’re looking for.

This county is active

OK, I’m not Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Back to the Mountain Games, yes, Sunday, June 10’s Road Bike Time Trial is a recreation of the old Coors Classic ride and a preview of the Colorado Classic, which will go up Vail Pass on Aug. 17. But when you’re driving up Vail Pass on Interstate 70 on any given day, weekend warriors and tourists are pedaling their way to the summit.

Speaking of biking, Eagle County gathers every other Wednesday or so for mountain biking. It’s called the Vail Recreation District’s Athletic Club at the Westin Mountain-Biking Series. It’s kind of likely you’ll see familiar names on those Wednesdays in Saturday, June 9’s X-Country mountain-bike race on Vail Mountain.

Sunday’s the 10K Spring Runoff running race and there’s also the Apres 5K on Friday, June 8. People here run incessantly including the La Sportiva Trail Running Series.

And, yes, people in Eagle County like their dogs. They bring them everywhere, so Lionshead Village will be home to man’s best friend for all sorts of competitions.

Just looking around our newsroom, our editor paddled in the Tuesday Whitewater Series, when she wasn’t off on vacation on whitewater somewhere else.

Our HighLife section editor loves disc golf and has been known to knock off for nine holes here and 18 holes there. (The Mountain Games disc golf finals are on Sunday, by the way.)

One of my old sports writers once went ice climbing for a feature, which nearly gave me and his mother (not necessarily in that order) a heart attack, so that covers the IFSC World Cup climbing event on Saturday.

Speaking of which, welcome back to the valley, Shauna Farnell, also an alumna of the Vail Daily, who once got her arm run over in a Wednesday bike race. She was sporting really cool tire tracks on her arm for weeks.

That’s why the sports editor sticks to regular golf and reminds you that this is a terrible place to live. Please don’t move here. Seriously, I think it’s going to snow all four days of the Mountain Games.

Some people are just psycho

Last week, I was walking into the Avon City Market and ran into Josiah Middaugh, who had a shopping cart in one hand and a watermelon over his other shoulder. This, perhaps, was some form of elite off-road triathlon training or he might have been going shopping.

You make the call.

Seriously, though, this is the Vail Valley/Eagle County: Go to the market and see a human cyborg. I’ve got no idea if Middaugh is participating in this weekend’s Ultimate Mountain Challenge or just using assorted events this weekend as training exercises.

And for the uninitiated, the UMC stands as the overall Mountain Games title for individuals and teams. Athletes get points for entering Mountain Games events and more for doing well. The teams and individuals with the most points win.

Personally, I think 18 holes per day is enough activity for me, but then again, Eagle County has really bad golf, no good summer music festivals or anything interesting to do here during the summer, so you should probably turn your car around now.

And we like to have fun

The Mountain Games have some funky stuff, like slacklining — the finals are on Sunday. I imagine myself trying to do that and envision breaking everything in my body, but it’s fun to watch.

Fly-fishing is also not my thing, but hey, most people think that hitting a little white ball with oddly shaped mallets isn’t fun. To each their own.

And then, there’s stand-up paddling. You’re really doing that on Gore Creek? Do you boo, I guess.

I do enjoy — watching — raft cross (Friday), stand-up paddle cross and 8-ball kayaking (the latter two on Sunday). If you haven’t seen these before, you’ve gotta see them.

And just remember, summers are terrible up here. If you’re coming up from Denver, then just keep driving until you hit Glenwood Springs. Go to Aspen.

Support Local Journalism