ADVENTURE RACERS DESCEND ON VAIL THIS WEEKEND
The ultimate celebration of adventure sport and spirit, the Winter Mountain Games, presented by Eddie Bauer, is right around the corner February 8-10, 2013. After an overwhelming success in its inaugural year, 2012, one of Vail’s hallmark winter events is back and promises to be even more grueling, more exciting and more adventurous than ever.
Vail, Colorado is known the world around as in undeniable leader in the ski resort market, as well as an international training destination for collegiate and national ski teams. Less known is that Vail has an incredibly active community of adventure racers and athletes, making it a perfect destination for an event that gives exposure to high excitement winter sports competition. The Winter Games has events in several categories of winter sports: Climbing, Skiing, Running and Biking. Both professional and amateur enthusiasts will participate over the three day event – a favorite among locals as well as spectators.
ICE CLIMBING Feb. 8-9
If you’ve been in the Golden Peak the last few days, you will have seen the giant climbing structure being built below beginner chair 12. This incredible construction is the venue for the favorite spectator event of Mixed Climbing (combination of ice and rock). Watch the Pros battle side by side in the Pro Division on mirror-image courses in this ultimate vertical test of strength and agility. The “Joe’s” have the same opportunity in a challenge that allows amateurs to attempt similar feats in a fun format. And for everyone else, the Open Public Demo is your chance to buck up and give the wall a whirl with demo equipment supplied by the Mountain Games.
NORDIC / TELEMARK SKIING Feb.8
Skiing, both Nordic and Telemark, are a focal point of this years’ games. The Nordic Freestyle is a classic and skate ski event at the Vail Nordic Center that pins ultra-fit Nordic skiers against on another in a fierce 10k competition. Telemark skiing, the vintage free-heel technique of Nordic origin that has regained stamina in the last 30 years, is taken to a whole new level at the mountain Games. The Telemark Big Air competition throws free-heelers over a big air, fireball-laden kicker in a lighted night-time freeskiing competition.
In another variation on Nordic skiing, the Ski Mountaineering event tests the endurance of skiers as they compete on front side and back side Vail Mountain terrain. Competitors will hike with climbing skins, ski, and boot pack through checkpoints in pursuit of a $1000 prize in this grueling all-day challenge. On a lighter note, the 7 Wonders of Vail invites all passionate mountaineers to ski all 24 of Vail’s lifts in one day. Skiers must devise the best, most efficient plan to hit all 24 lifts, as well as answer clever trivia questions at the checkpoints scattered around the mountain. Don’t miss the après ski bragging rights party to compare notes on strategies and vie for fantastic awards and prizes.
For runners, two great events are in store. The X-Country Snowshoe is a favorite event of the weekend, with 5k and 10k categories meandering on variable tracked and untracked trails around Vail Mountain (dogs are welcome in the 5k!) The Vail Uphill is a grueling, 2200 ft vertical climb from the base of Lionshead to the top of Eagle’s Nest; the Open Category welcomes Sneakers, Yaktrax and Snowshoes, and the Heavy Metal division features Telemark, AT and Splitboards. Racers will run their hearts out on this climb to glory for cash prizes and a chance to tout their running prowess. And the penultimate hard-core experience of the Mountain Games is the Ultimate Mountain Challenge – a title for combined success in Nordic 10k, Vail Uphill and Ski Mountaineering.
It may come as a surprise, but yes, the hottest adventure sport at the winter games is something you probably don’t associate with snow. Put some extra fat tires with a really great tread on a mountain bike and a winter mountain bike is born. Four events celebrate this unconventional but increasingly popular mountain sport. X Country Mountain Bike is 10k or 20k race on the groomed Vail Nordic Center Trails; you choose your bike style, be it fatbike, single speed, hard tail, full suspension or downhill bike. Just like a traditional bike criterium, the On-Snow Bike Crit takes riders on multiple winter mountain bike laps winding around lower Vail Mountain. The gutsy Dual Slalom Bike puts two riders head to head in mirror image super fast slalom mountain bike courses at Golden Peak. And for pure drama, check the Best Trick Bike event; this nighttime event is simultaneous with Tele Big Air, as skiers and bikers jump side by side in a thrilling dual duel spectator experience like no other.
EXPO, FILMS and CONCERTS
In addition to all this amazing athleticism, the weekend is rich with entertaining ancillary events. The Outdoor Reels Film Seriesscreens wintersport adventure films on the imaginative outdoor Logan Ice Theater. The Mountain Click Photo Comp runs the course of the 4-day Games as amateur and pro photographers document the events and athletes of the games and then submit them for judging. Free concerts by Ana Sia & Kraddy, Flobots and Jon Brown’s Body rock nighttime events at 7:30 Thursday-Saturday. In reverence to mountainistas, “Get the Girls Out Event” presented by SheJumps and Eddie Bauer celebrates cultivating a supportive, fun mountain community for women. Gear Town, located at the base of Golden Peak, is an expo extraordinaire showcasing the newest and coolest winter gear. Click here for a full schedule of Mountain Games events and more information about this incredible celebration of winter athleticism and adventure.
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