It’s taken a few days to adjust back to reality after a hugely successful and high tempo-ed GoPro Mountain Games in Vail. Looking back, this was easily the biggest and best Mountain Games in the event’s 12-year history.
The crew from Backbone spent four days hosting and supporting media at the event, working with some of our old friends (looking at you Regenold, Metzler, Pattillo, Sturtz, Dwyer, Buchanan, Carberry, Blevins, Krogh, Rogers, Martindell, Ellison, Clark) as well as lots of new ones. One of the highlights of the weekend was hanging out with former NFL player and TV host Dhani Jones, who was in town to shoot for SpikeTV’s Playbook 360. Dhani is an incredibly nice guy and we had a blast showing him around the event. Kara helped Dhani with his fly-fishing.
Timmy O’Neil explained the World Cup Bouldering comp to him
He went nom nom nom on some Honey Stinger Waffles
And we even got him to go rafting (and subsequently go swimming) with our friend Seth from the US National Whitewater Rafting team.
Anyway, here are five things we learned this weekend.
1. GoPro is much more than a camera company.
Adding GoPro as the title sponsor clearly elevated the event to a new level. GoPro is a cultural phenomenon, and the company’s influence was clearly on display in Vail. Everywhere you turned someone was wearing a GoPro. Even the dogs got in on the action.
2. Slacklining is the real deal.
What started as a downtime activity for climbers at Camp 4 in Yosemite, has grown into full blown sport—a fascinating mix of balance, strength and gymnastics, set to a decidedly Euro techno-dance beat. The World Slackline Championships during the GoPro Games were a crowd favorite, drawing thousands to cheer on the skinny-jeans wearing kids bouncing and flipping on a “trickline.”
A 12-year-old won the women’s kayak freestyle competition. A 14-year-old won the slackline championships, a 20-year-old won the mountain bike XC and a 21-year-old won the slopestyle comp. The future generation of adventure sports athletes is here.
Kids were everywhere this weekend. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the GoPro Mountain Games is the most family-friendly event in the country. From the kids mud run, to a kids mountain bike race, to kayak, SUP and zip-line demos, the Mountain Games caters to kids of all ages. By Sunday afternoon, my kids were so exhausted they could barely stand.
4. Josiah Middaugh is the man.
Seven-years in a row he’s won the Ultimate Mountain Challenge. That’s an amazing feat of consistency. I’m biased because he’s a friend and an incredibly nice guy, but I think Josiah is the strongest all around athlete in the country, bar none.
5. For four days every year, the GoPro Mountain Games is the center of the outdoor universe. The Gear Junkie summed it up nicely. If you haven’t been, you’re missing out.