Plenty of gear and swag at GoPro Mountain Games

Today's your last chance to visit dozens of booths from Golden Peak to Lionshead

Mountain House is the title sponsor of the GoPro Mountain Game's Gear Town. Make sure to take a selfie with its mascot, the sasquatch.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

The GoPro Mountain Games have been the kickoff to summer in Vail for over two decades and one thing that has always been a part of the festival is SWAG gathering. It’s almost an event in itself. People come to town just to see what kind of SWAG, an acronym for “Stuff We All Get,” they can collect over the four days the various vendors are in town.

Mountain House Gear Town is home to most of the vendors, and there are over 60 of them, along Meadow Drive and the International Bridge. There are also vendors at the top of Bridge Street at Nature Valley Mountain Plaza. Then you’ll find more at The Hangout at Golden Peak. Lionshead, known as Dog Town during the GoPro Mountain Games, has vendors as well and a lot of them carry items specifically for dogs.

The Vail Valley Foundation, the organizers of the GoPro Mountain Games, compare this to a farmer’s market but instead of produce, there’s all sort of gear and outdoor related items. Demonstrations, samples, discount codes and plenty of SWAG like water bottles, T-shirts, frisbees, stickers, koozies and more are up for grabs. Some booths have big prizes. At Priority Bicycles near the Covered Bridge and the bottom of the Vail Village parking structure stairs, you can enter to win a Priority Bicycles bike and gear prize pack worth $4,500.

Vanworks has a Mercedes Sprinter van on display at Mountain House Gear Town.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

As always, stop by the GoPro Mountain games booth to find out how you can win a GoPro camera, which they give away daily at 3 p.m. The booth also has information on special deals on camera and equipment, so if you are in the market to buy a new GoPro or upgrade to a newer model, now’s a good time to do it.

I love when the vendors really make you earn the prizes. Rambler wasn’t just giving away the SWAG, you must finish your can of sparkling water they are giving away (you have a choice of four flavors: plain, lemon lime, grapefruit and Satsuma mandarin orange), then crush it in the special can crusher and then play PLINKO!  Wherever your token lands, that’s the prize you get, either a Frisbee, a key chain or a koozie with the Rambler logo on it.

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Polaris made it a little bit more challenging to win a prize, but it was super fun to try. Polaris just debuted its all-new, adventure side-by-side brand, Xpedition. What’s really cool about these vehicles is that you can configure and customize them whether you are using it for fly fishing, kayaking, skiing, camping, biking … whatever your pursuits take you. They have a whole line of accessories to trick our your ride with super functional features.

After you check out the vehicles, try to win a prize by doing the Basecamp Blitz. Sign up at the tent and the Polaris representative will walk you through a list of seven things you must do to “set up camp.” Tasks include: pulling down the ladder from the tent on top of the vehicle, tossing two sleeping bags and pillows into the tent above, hanging the lantern from the awning, grabbing the two custom camping chairs from Polaris to set up your camping area, add the cooler and logs, and last but not least, crank the tunes! If you have one of the top times (they have a timing device there) your name will be put on the leader board. Each day, Polaris will give away two camping chairs for first place, a portable JBL speaker for second place and Polaris apparel to third place. It’s a lot of fun and these vehicles are so cool, so come geek out about the outdoors and the ways you can get there. This contest is being held at The Hangout at Golden Peak.

You can work up an appetite wandering around the GoPro Mountain Games so make sure you stop by Mountain House, right in front of Solaris, and get a taste of some of their delicious samples their team will be giving out daily starting at 11 a.m. Mountain House has been cooking up freeze-dried food for all your adventure needs since 1969. Try the biscuits and gravy or the veggie chorizo breakfast scramble or entrees like the chicken fajita bowl or lasagna.

Optimum Nutrition has samples of its protein drinks available, try the whey or plant protein drinks and they are even serving them up out of a “slushy machine” so you can try the chocolate and vanilla flavors. You never know who you’ll run into at the Optimum Nutrition booth. Optimum Nutrition and Olympic track and field athlete Steven Benedict was there talking to folks and handing out samples and Nick Troutman, pro kayaker and also an Optimum Nutrition athlete, came straight from Gore Creek, kayak over one shoulder, and grabbed a protein drink from the booth near the International Bridge and said hi to a few fans.

One of the new vendors this year is Emscultp, and one of the machines featured is the Emsculpt Neo which is supposed to kill fat and build muscle. To try it, you hop on the massage table in their both and they will put the device on your abdominal muscles, right on the skin because the device uses radio frequency heat which is killing the fat and HIFEM+ energy which is what is building muscle, so it is a really strong magnet that causes your whole abdominal wall to contract. Maria Brown at the Emsculpt booth set me up with low intensity at the beginning and added more during my session. I was only trying it for a few minutes, but if you do a session at a facility where Emsculpt is administered, it lasts 30 minutes and that is the equivalent of 20,000 abdominal crunches. Try it out at the Emsculpt booth just west of Solaris.

Vail Daily reporter Tricia Swenson tries out the Emsculpt Neo machine at the Emsculpt booth on Thursday. Emsculpt is a new vendor at the GoPro Mountain Games.
Tricia Swenson/Vail Daily

Whether you are in the market for a particular outdoor product of just want to wander around and see what catches your eye, take some time to stop by the many booths throughout all of the GoPro Mountain Games venues. Mountain House Gear Town will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. has a great interactive map by T Mobile that allows you to search by venue, search by vendor and also search by category, so use that as a guide if you are looking for a particular vendor.

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