Race for the Rail moves from Vail to Northstar
Popular OneWheel attraction becomes an event unto itself in Tahoe
VAIL – After experiencing tremendous growth, the Race for the Rail Onewheel cross competition will not be held at the 2019 GoPro Mountain Games, as it has in years past.
Jack Mudd with Onewheel said the company had to make the decision with a heavy heart, as the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail has always been such a big part of the Onewheel community.
“We had 75 entrants last year and that’s looking like it’s going to double or triple,” Mudd said. “The Mountain Games has been such a wonderful experience for us, and has been so good to us, but it’s time to cast off on our own.”
‘Mountain Games is special’
The Race for the Rail will take place at Northstar Resort in Lake Tahoe August 1-4. Mudd said the format developed over the course of four years of experimenting in Vail will be refined even further in Tahoe, but rough-and-tumble competitors who looked forward to racing at Golden Peak for its variety of terrain and head-to-head racing opportunities won’t be disappointed in Tahoe.
“I remember our first year, we were in town by (10th Mountain Whiskey), and we just had a couple of ramps which we built by hand,” Mudd recalls. “We built the ramps outside of Home Depot the night before.”
By 2018, a four-person head-to-head race had become a main attraction at Golden Peak, where spectators lined a course that contained dirt, asphalt, hills, banked turns, jumps and a variety of other challenging features.
“I’ve done a ton of events, all over the country, and Mountain Games really is special,” Mudd said. “We have employees we’ve met at the Mountain Games, made lifelong friends there, it’s been amazing.”
Mudd said as the Race for the Rail course continues to grow each year, the fact that they’ll have the Northstar venue all to themselves in early August will allow it to grow even more.
“The sport needs progression, and that’s what we’re seeking (in Tahoe),” Mudd said. “But Mountain Games is so special to us, we’re hoping to find a way to continue to be there in the future.”
Rentals still available
As electric skateboards, scooters, bikes and unicycles started to become ubiquitous across the U.S., the Onewheel brand of electric personal mobility device found itself to inhabit a particular niche with its offroad capabilities, long battery life and fast recharging capabilities. For many people, the GoPro Mountain Games was the first time they had ever seen the device in action.
Professional skier Taylor Seaton said he’ll never forget the first time he saw one in Vail in 2015.
“It was different than anything I had ever seen,” Seaton said. “A really impressive toy for sure.”
Seaton entered the Race for the Rail in 2016, and said since then riding a Onewheel and seeing the device around town has become an integral part of the Mountain Games experience for him.
“The funny thing is, already I’ve seen tons of other people on them as the Mountain Games are getting set up,” Seaton said Wednesday. “So even though the Race for the Rail isn’t here this year, I think you’re still going to see a lot of them around.”
Rocky Mountain Adventure Rentals in Eagle-Vail will have Onewheels available for rent during the Mountain Games and beyond. Owner Stan Morris said the product fits in perfectly with his unique selection of adventure toys.
“I saw an old surfer from California get on one, a guy in his 60s, he took one lap around the parking lot and came back and bought one,” Morris said. “I knew it was a perfect device for this area. People can rent them here and hop right on the rec path through Dowd Junction into Vail. We’ve been getting 15 to 19 miles on a single charge.”