2022 GoPro Mountain Games returned in full force in Vail | VailDaily.com

2022 GoPro Mountain Games returned in full force in Vail

Special to the Daily
A large crowd gathered for the GMC Kayak Freestyle final on Saturday evening.
John Ryan Lockman/Courtesy photo

At the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail June 7-12, 2022, every lap felt like a victory lap, every song felt like a fight song, and every dog seemed to be wagging its tail with just a little bit more enthusiasm.

The event celebrated 20 years in style, bringing back a post-pandemic version of the event that included more days than ever before (six), a return of old favorites, and tons of new events and activities.

“This was a true return to all the vitality and excitement that have come with the GoPro Mountain Games since the event began in 2002, and we were extremely motivated to make this the best-ever version of this iconic event,” said Mike Imhof, president of the nonprofit Vail Valley Foundation, which owns and operates the GoPro Mountain Games each June in Vail, Colorado.

“In 2022 we marked 20 years, we looked back on some of the great moments in event history, and we celebrated all of the partners, sponsors, athletes, artists, musicians, volunteers and spectators who contribute each year to the vision of making this the best all-around mountain experience available anywhere in the world,” Imhof said.

Returning the favorites

The GoPro Mountain Games celebrated its 20th birthday in myriad ways, starting with an expansion of the event to six days instead of the traditional four. Action began on Tuesday, June 7, with the GoPro Dual Slalom qualifiers, and on Wednesday went directly into the world-renowned TINCUP Steep Creek Championships on Homestake Creek, a signature whitewater kayak event that became part of the Mountain Games in 2003.

Dane Jackson won the TINCUP Steep Creek Championships, setting off a string of victories and podiums from himself, his sister Emily, and Emily’s husband Nick Troutman during a week jam-packed with whitewater and river-centric competitions.

It’s no wonder that whitewater lovers like the Jacksons come to Vail each June to take part in the Mountain Games. After all, it’s an event that grew out of an annual international whitewater festival 20 years ago and now offers nine whitewater events and four fishing events.

Climbing also returned for the first time since 2019 with CELSIUS Citizen Climbing, GoPro Youth Climbing, as well as the North American Cup Vail, presented by CELSIUS Energy, which saw the best climbers in the country compete for an $11,000 prize purse.

The Nature Valley Mountain Mud Run also came back, helping round out the return of some of the event’s historically most-popular events.

Protect Our Playgrounds

All of it was done with a renewed commitment to sustainability with the “Protect Our Playgrounds” initiative, which aimed to create zero waste at the event. Also, the GoPro Mountain Games team has committed to year-round protection of the mountains, streams and rivers that are essential to the games, including sending out a river cleanup crew to Homestake Creek in partnership with the Eagle River Watershed Council’s river cleanup event in September.

New and notable

The 20th Anniversary edition of the GoPro Mountain Games also included a few new events and activities, including:

And, of course, who can forget the dogs. They put the yappy into happy hour for all of us, day and night. In between Orijen DockDogs events, GoPro Dueling Dogs, and the Pacifico K9 SuperWall, every dog had its day at the 2022 GoPro Mountain Games.

Eyes on the prize

The event was once again the epicenter of the outdoor and mountain lifestyle world. Media from around the region and the nation came onsite to capture the action, and social media celebs like Brodie The Goldendoodle, Wade Holland, Max Rantz-McDonald, Ariel Tweto, Thomas Walsh, Sasha Digiulian, and more were on hand to help connect the event to people around the world.

Look for fun video clips and insightful interviews from OutsideTV in the coming weeks and months, and check out podcasts recorded live on-site from Salema Masakela’s “What Shapes Us.”

We’re jammin’

During the day, music illuminated venues in Lionshead, Vail Village and the Hangout at Golden Peak. Each evening Thursday through Saturday, the epicenter of the Mountain Games centered on the Vail Valley Foundation’s beautiful outdoor venue, the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, for standing-room only concerts featuring:

  • Mihali & G. Love
  • Twiddle
  • Warren Haynes & Grace Potter
  • Gov’t Mule
  • Mishka
  • The Wailers Featuring Julian Marley

It takes a village

Imhof said that the pandemic put perspective on how meaningful it is to be able to gather at the GoPro Mountain Games, and that it takes a lot of partnership and support for the Vail Valley Foundation to be able to host an event of this magnitude in the town of Vail, on Vail Mountain and in Minturn.

“We are very grateful to all our partners and sponsors. GoPro has been an exceptional title sponsor to this event since 2011, and the town of Vail, the U.S. Forest Service, and Vail Resorts are instrumental in giving us the space, resources, and support needed to be able to host an event of this scale,” he said. “We extend our sincere thanks to them, and to all our event’s partners, sponsors, our dedicated VVF staff, and the more than 325 volunteers that take part each year. We look forward to returning in 2023!”

Support Local Journalism