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Teva Mountain Games begin today

Spectators perch on the boulders lining Dowd Chute to watch the kayak paddlecross at the GoPro Mountain Games in 2012.
Special to the Daily |

VAIL – The switch has been flipped. The whitewater is gushing. The sun will be pulsing. The adrenaline? Erupting.Starting today at Dowd Chute, it’s on. Again.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Teva Mountain Games return to Vail. The five-day sports, art and music festival commences with kayak and raft paddlecross competitions on the roaring Class IV rapids of the Eagle River.Time trials begin at 9 a.m., followed by semifinal heats at noon and then finals at 1:30 p.m.The paddlecross races, whose roots date back to the International Whitewater Series of the 80s and 90s, are the perfect sampler for what is store for Vail during the next five days.Locals can grab a seat on the rocks lining Dowd Chute and watch paddlers battle it out toward the finish line – all while working on a nice summer tan.

Eagle County’s own Behind the 8 Ball and Timberline Women are the respective national champions for men’s and women’s whitewater rafting, giving locals an added reason to show up and cheer. Last year, colorful captain Chris “Mongo” Reeder and his Behind the 8 Ball crew blew past rival Clear Creek Rafting in the final. Anyone paying closing attention could hear the screams of the Clear Creek team’s captain echoing off the walls of the canyon as his boat floated across the finish line in second place.The competition in the canyon will be more compelling this year with a healthy spring runoff pushing the river to its brim. One thing should be the same, however: Expect Behind the 8 Ball and their female counterparts to stay ahead of the rest.

Home river advantage is tough to beat, especially when going up against the best teams in the country.After the Dowd Chute races, locals can head to Vail Village for more of what makes the Teva Mountain Games unique: variety.The opening street party starts at 6 p.m. and will coincide with an amateur kayak rodeo qualifier in the Gore Creek water park. The filmmaker’s showdown – which is new to the games this year – also starts at 6 p.m.The games’ opening ceremony at 8 p.m. will also be something to take in with the fading sun’s rays painting the valley in a wash of soft pastels.

It’s all on.And, it’s all here for the next five days.

For more information on the Teva Mountain Games to http://www.tevamountaingames.com.Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at npeterson@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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