GoPro Mountain Games is a four-day festival with enough events to last the entire year. As you walk through the crowded cobblestone corners of Vail, Colorado, you can catch the end of the slacklining competition and the beginning of the playboat competition. While everything has “competition” after its sport’s name, it has the feeling of a friendly, supportive, welcoming play place. The festival is massive, with multiple areas miles apart from each other. The dogs jump as far as they can in Lionshead, and the free tunes at night waft into the cool air on the opposite end of Vail in the amphitheatre.
While we shared Elevation Outdoors Magazine and rad gear at our tent near the kayak hole, competitions and contests raged all around us. We were able to connect with Joe Gray, a competitor planning on running in both Pepi’s Challange (a sprint where you attempt as many laps up a black diamond on the front face of Vail Mountain) and the Pro Trek Smart 10k Spring Runoff (where he was attempting his fifth victory in a row) on Sunday. Here is a small clip from our conversation:
Roxanne: If you had advice for someone running one of these races, what would you say?
Joe: I think when you’re not used to this altitude the safest bet is to go out more conservatively just because when you go into oxygen debt at this altitude, your race is just going to go downhill exponentially.
Roxanne: What’s your second favourite thing at GoPro games besides racing?
Joe: I like the vibe, the atmosphere — everybody’s really energetic and happy and you don’t see a lot of arguments or negativity.
Roxanne: What’s an event you’re looking forward to?
Joe: I love watching the mountain biking. I’ll watch that every year. I like to watch the dock dogs, but they’ve moved it now and I won’t be able to get to it in between my races.
We are happy to announce that Joe won BOTH of his races! First place in both events, in one day! And he was a pleasure to hang out with. What an athlete. If you’d like to contact him to talk mountain running or congratulate him, he’s available on Facebook and Instagram.
The GoPro Games are always a blur. The four days sprint by as the athletes compete and spectators view in awe. We were able to break away from the tent for a few moments to capture some of the energy. Take a look at some of the photos we caught of the amazing weekend.
Next up is FiBark, America’s oldest whitewater festival. If you find yourself anywhere near Salida this weekend, make sure to stop by the tent and say hello! We will be there to chat gear and rafting, and as always, pass out high fives.
There is one way for this tour to be a reality, our sponsors! Sending a thank you shout out to our title sponsor Nite Ize, and all of our other awesome sponsors like Crazy Creek, National Geographic, Sea to Summit, Mountain House, Lowe Alpine, Old Town, Leki, HydraPak, UCO Gear and Wenzel. If you like the gear that keeps us groovin’ click here to enter for a chance to win our Grand Gear Giveaway!