Teva Mountain Games start today | VailDaily.com

Teva Mountain Games start today

CVR Steep Creek 2 DT 6-2-11

VAIL – Try to top that.

It’s a game that the Teva Mountain Games has been playing rather successfully since its inception as the Jeep Whitewater Festival many years ago. That said, rafting toward a keg of beer at the end of Dowd Chute, no matter how noble the pursuit, wasn’t hard.

But how do you top last year’s steep-creek championships, which start the 2012 edition of the Mountain Games, today at 10 a.m. up at Homestake Creek near Red Cliff?

Honza Lasko, of the Czech Republic, and New Zealand’s Michael Dawson tied for first in the two-run race down to the hundredth second – 3 minutes, 34.62 seconds.

Try doing that again.

OK, probably not, but the Homestake race kicks off four days of mountain sporting events, which should provide plenty of chills and definitely some spills. What was originally a rafting event is now a confluence of biking, running, whitewater, climbing, fishing and dog sports.

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A look at the slate:

Today

The action is on Homestake Creek. As noted, Lasko and Dawson are the men’s champions. Adriene Levknecht of North Carolina won the women’s race last spring. She was the first woman not named Tanya Faux or Nikky Kelly to win the race since 2003. Expect those two to mount a challenge today.

Friday

While lots events start their qualifying rounds, Friday’s main event is the slopestyle final at 6:30 p.m. at Golden Peak. No snowboards are allowed. Mountain bikes take over the ski base. The key is doing as many tricks and grabbing big air over the course of the run. Mike Montgomery of San Diego took the top spot in 2011.

Saturday

Things start to get extreme. The day starts with the Vail Pass half, which is Teva-speak, for a 13-mile run up Vail Pass. The Ultimate Mountain Challenge also starts with the down-river sprint and the mountain-bike race. The Challenge is a four-event endurance race with road biking and a running race Sunday. Josiah Middaugh won the men’s crown last year, while New Castle’s Kelly Cullen took top honors for the ladies.

In the water, Emily Jackson will be going for her eighth title in a row in kayak freestyle at 4:15 p.m. The men’s competition figures to be Jackson heavy as well. Eric Jackson, Emily’s dad, as well as Dane Jackson, her brother, will try to dethrone Buena Vista’s Dustin Urban.

A hop, skip and a jump from the whitewater, the freeride finals are at 4 p.m. This is daredevils speeding their way over an obstacle course in a single-elimination format. New Hampshire’s Dave Smutok mastered the course last year.

The day ends with World Cup bouldering at Golden Peak. Austria swept this stop of the tour last spring with Anna Stohr and Killian Fischhuber topping the podium,

Sunday

Slacklining makes its debut this year at Teva, and the finals are at 12:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, the best casters head to an undisclosed location in search of their prey in the fly-fishing competition.

Sunday afternoons at the Mountain Games are always fun. At Golden Peak, the dogs rule with speed-retrieve and big-air events. On the water, it’s a aggression-therapy boating with raft cross and 8-ball kayaking.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.