Steep Creek gets GoPro Games started | VailDaily.com

Steep Creek gets GoPro Games started

No more hype. It's time to go.

The GoPro Mountain Games begin today with the Steep Creek Championship at 10 a.m. up at Homestake Creek just past Red Cliff.

Mike Dawson, of New Zealand, is the 2.5-time defending champion — we'll explain — for the men, while Martina Wegman, of the Netherlands, is the defending women's champion.

Dawson won in 2009. In 2011, he improbably tied with Honza Lasko before winning outright again in 2012.

For those not familiar with the event, it's two runs down Class V waters — 1-5 for those allergic to Roman numerals — with the best combined time winning.

Do watch out for Dane Jackson in the men's competition. While he's not exactly new to the Mountain Games — this will be his ninth appearance as he's pretty much grown up in a kayak in this competition — Jackson was second last year in Steep Creek.

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Slopestyle biking

Friday's main attraction is slopestyle biking at Golden Peak. This is worth the price of admission, even though it's free. These guys do tricks off jumps and grab air of which only mortals could dream. Sam Pilgrim, of the United Kingdom, is the defending champ.

Saturday brings a slew of events, including the Vail Pass half-marathon, which is a 13-mile run up the pass. The mountain-biking race as well as the down-river sprint and the stand-up paddle sprint make up the first two legs of the two-day Ultimate Mountain Challenge. The smart money is on Edwards' Josiah Middaugh — please no gambling, people.

At 4:15 p.m., paddlers take to the hole in the hole in the kayak freestyle. Look for space Godzillas, phonyx monkeys and McTwists. Stephen Wright and Claire O'Hara are the defending champs. Look for Nick Troutman and Eric Jackson to be in the mix.

World Cup bouldering

Saturday evening is also the finals of the IFSC World Cup bouldering event. Austrians Killiam Fischhuber and Anna Stohr made it a sweep last year.

Sunday starts with more Ultimate Mountain Challenge events, including the 10K Spring Runoff and the Vail Pass Time Trial (cycling). At 12:30 p.m., check out the slacklining finals. Alex Mason, all of 14 years old, won this event last year.

The games end with a bit of fun. Dogs take over Golden Peak for assorted jumping competitions, while Sunday afternoon is carnage time on Gore Creek. That will be the site of raft cross, stand-up paddle cross and 8-ball kayaking.

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

GoPro Mountain Games schedule

Thursday

Steep Creek Championship, Homestake, 10 a.m.

Friday

World Cup bouldering, women’s qualifying, 9 a.m.

Dog jumping, 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m.

World Cup bouldering, men’s qualifying, 2 p.m.

Slopestyle biking finals, 6 p.m.

Saturday

Vail Pass Half Marathon, 8 a.m.

Down-river sprint, 8 a.m.

Stand-up paddle sprint, 9:30 a.m.

Mountain biking, 10 a.m., 11:45 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.

Kayak freestyle, 4:15 p.m.

World Cup bouldering, 5 p.m.

Sunday

Spring runoff 10K, 8 a.m.

Fly fishing finals, 8 a.m.

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

Slackline World Championship, 12:30 p.m.

Raft cross finals, 2 p.m.

Stand-up paddle finals, 3 p.m.

Dog jumping finals, 3: 30 p.m.

8-ball finals, 4 p.m.