GoPro Games returns to Vail | Tricia's Top Weekend Picks |

The GoPro Mountain Games kick off this weekend: Tricia’s weekend picks 6/6/19


For four days each summer, the GoPro Mountain Games brings in thousands of professional and amateur athletes to compete in nearly a dozen disciplines and 30 different competitions. Let the athletes do the heavy lifting and sit back and watch them achieve some amazing feats. From slacklining and World Cup Climbing (which will be in the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020) to dogs reaching new heights, here are some of the spectator-friendly events you won’t want to miss.

International Federation of Sport Climbing World Cup – Mountain Plaza, Vail

With World Cup Climbing being included in the Olympic Games in 2020, become familiar with the athletes who may become household names in Tokyo. These athletes make scaling an 18-foot wall look easy until you realize they are supporting their body weight with the tips of their fingers and toes for the most part.

  • Friday: 9 a.m. Women’s Qualifications, 2:30 Men’s Qualifications.
  • Saturday: Semi Finals -9:30 a.m. for Men and Women.
  • Saturday: Finals – 3-4:30 p.m. Men’s Finals, 4:45-6:15 Women’s Finals.

Dock Dogs – Lionshead

Believe it or not, some of the dogs that compete in the Dock Dogs events train as hard as the human athletes do. Dogs and their dedicated owners work on drills and skills and travel the country for events like this. Lionshead will once again be the headquarters for the elite and amateur canines. Events are held all weekend long, check for specific times and types of events.

Outdoor Reels – Mountain Plaza

You can also just relax and be entertained and informed by what is showing on the big screen at Mountain Plaza. You won’t miss the HD Videoboard, it is 16 feet by 9 feet and it’s right out in the open air. This year the films focus on women adventurers. Take a trip around the world and follow many different disciplines during nine different films in the No Man’s Land Film Festival on Friday night from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Bring a blanket, snacks and sit back and let these films inspire you.


One thing that is unique about the GoPro Mountain Games is that you can actually take part in the events. The same stretches of river, trails and climbing wall that the pros use are the same for the amateurs. For example, the course that has been used for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Colorado Classic and the Coors Classic is the same road that you will ride during the Road Bike Time Trial on Sunday, so you can check your times against the pros.

Speaking of biking, the TIAA Bank XC Mountain Bike course has been adjusted due to the snowpack and late season moisture the valley has received. So even if you have done the cross-country race before, this year the course will offer different challenges.

The same thing goes for the Casio Pro Trek 10k Spring Runoff running race. The course has been altered due to the conditions, but still, expect a challenge.  

If you aren’t looking for your personal record and just want to have fun and aren’t afraid of getting dirty, then try the super muddy Mountain Mud Run on Saturday. Enjoy the short lap format with two mud pits and lots of obstacles to go through, around, over and under. Costumes are encouraged.

There is also a competition for avid and aspiring photographers. Utilize of all the eye candy from the GoPro Mountain Games as your subject matter and compete in the Mountain Click Photo Competition. The colorful gear, action and the scenery make for some well-composed photographs. Professional judges will be calling the shots on who wins the pro and amateur divisions. Top images will bring home the cash purse.

Enjoy live music

Even if you took away all the athletic events at the GoPro Mountain Games, you’d still attract a crowd due to the musicians that are set to play. The best part is, the Mountains of Music line up is free.


Checkpoint Charlie Stage at Gear Town 

12-1:30 p.m.  Skin The Rabbit Trio
3-4 p.m.  Hardscrabble
5-6 p.m.  Hardscrabble

Lionshead Music Stage at Dog Town

12-1 p.m. – The Bob Masters Experience
3-4 p.m. – Runaway Grooms
5-6 p.m. – Runaway Grooms

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater at Ford Park

7:15 p.m. – Langhorne Slim & The Law

8:45 p.m. – Joan Osborne | Songs of Bob Dylan

Shakedown Bar in Vail Village

9 p.m. – Taylor James Frederick Band


Checkpoint Charlie Stage at Gear Town 

2-3 p.m. – Riverfront Ramblers
4:45-5:45 p.m. – Riverfront Ramblers

Lionshead Music Stage at Dog Town

10-11 a.m. – Emelise Munoz
2-3 p.m. – Emelise Munoz
5:30-6:30 p.m. – Dave Tucker and his Imaginary Band

Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater at Ford Park

7:15 p.m. – Band of Heathens

8:45 p.m. – Citizen Cope

Shakedown Bar in Vail Village

9 p.m. – Brother’s Keeper


Checkpoint Charlie Stage at Gear Town 

10-11 a.m. – Left on Tenth
12-1 p.m. – Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue with Rob Eaton
3-4 p.m. – Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue with Rob Eaton

Lionshead Music Stage at Dog Town

11 a.m.-12 p.m. – Mama Magnolia
12:30-1:30p.m. – Mama Magnolia
3-4 p.m. – Left on Tenth

Get free stuff

From GoPro gear to free Tito’s vodka drinks, there is plenty of SWAG (Stuff We All Get) at the GoPro Mountain Games. The L.L. Bean Gear Town will be packed with vendors offering everything from samples of energy drinks and sports bars to product demos. Speaking of L.L. Bean, they will be doing giveaways at 3:30 p.m. each day and GoPro will be doing daily giveaways at 3 p.m.

Some of the other giveaways mentioned on include an 11-foot inflatable Standup Paddleboard from NRS, an Acadia cabin tent complete with a dog room and speaking of dogs, you can even win a year’s supply of Blue Buffalo dog food this weekend.

What’s new

There’s always something new at the GoPro Mountain Games, here’s just a quick look at a few events you won’t want to miss.

Bosch E-Bike Boogaloo Race– Sunday, various race times

This race takes place on a specifically designed course consisting of obstacles, berms and more for Class 1 electric mountain bikes.  This type of e-bike is defined as “a bicycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor under 750 watts peak power that must be pedaled to activate the motor and that ceases to provide power above 20 mph.” Want to try it but don’t have an e-bike? Bosch will be providing a limited amount of bikes to participants.

K9 Super Wall – Recurring event, see schedule for details

This event is for teams of two humans and one canine and the goal is to scale the Super Walls, which increase in height as the event goes on. 

Slacklining – various event dates and times

There are a few new events that will take place on a slackline this summer. Everything from the Highline Speed Walk event where slackliners are timed to see who can cross a 200-foot slackline the fastest to the Highline Rumble, which showcases two slackliners on the ribbon at the same time, the longest person to stay on the line wins.

Pepi’s Face Challenge added to UMC

The Ultimate Mountain Challenge (UMC) asks individuals and teams to participate in several disciplines throughout the entire weekend. From kayaking to running to biking, this event tests the mettle of everyone who competes. This year, the final event on Sunday will be a grueling trek up and down Pepi’s Face, a steep ski run near the base of Vail Mountain, where racers will see how many laps they can do in 30 minutes. 

For a full line up of competitions, concerts, maps, transportation information and more, visit

Support Local Journalism