Run a race, listen to music, adopt a dog, get SWAG and more at the GoPro Mountain Games this weekend

Make the most of this summer festival in Vail

The GoPro Mountain Games spans eight venues and offers over 35 events, 100-plus vendors doing fun games and giveaways, four free kids activities, 38 sets of music and six food trucks. It’s a lot to take in from now until Sunday, but here are my top picks for this year’s installment of one of the most popular events in Vail.


Whether you are a pro or an average Joe, the GoPro Mountain Games has competitions for every level. The whole idea is to participate. Get into the action, become a part of this whole celebration of what we love about summer in Colorado and test your skills and, of course, have fun.

If you’ve been working on your fitness and getting in some biking or running in between snow storms this spring, there’s a race for you. The Oakley XC Mountain Bike Race is happening on Saturday morning with the first wave happening at 8 a.m. The course takes riders 5.87 miles per lap up and around Vail Mountain. The race starts at Golden Peak. Runners can test their mettle in the Adidas Terrex 10K and 20K (which, are actually 9K and 18K due to some construction work happening on Vail Mountain) on Sunday morning. This race starts at Mountain Plaza at 8 a.m.

If you are looking for less distance or less intimidation, the Mountain Games offers races that are more fun in nature 鈥 and easier to do. The Adidas Terrex Sunday Funday 5K (which will actually be a 4.5K due to construction on Vail Mountain) will start at 8:30 a.m. at Mountain Plaza. But if you really want to immerse yourself in the spirit of the GoPro Mountain Games, get down and dirty at the Nature Valley Mountain Mud Run. Yes, this is just as it sounds and mud is involved. Nobody is going for time, but rather trying to get the muddiest by the end. Have a friend who is clean at the finish line to take a photo of you and your posse. The event is so popular there are several waves that happen on Saturday afternoon.

Go to Gear Town

Mountain House Gear Town is best explained by the fine folks who write the descriptions on the website. They call it “a farmers market with one big exception, we’ve traded the fresh produce and random knick-knacks for gear, SWAG” and SWAG stands for Stuff We All Get, so be prepared to go home with some goodies.

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The items you’ll find at Gear Town relate to the Colorado lifestyle, whether it is learning about van life and how you can trick out your ride with Vandoit or wanting to try an e-bike from Aventon, these demos are a great way to test drive and actually see products up close. Try some samples of Mountain House’s freeze-dried meals that are perfect for your next camping trip. Or sip on a summer cocktail creation with Smirnoff’s new Pink Lemonade Vodka.

You may not win first place on the race course but you can come in first in the SWAG gathering category with plenty of stickers, cozies, hats and more collected at Gear Town.

Listen to live music

Music is such a huge part of the GoPro Mountain Games and it is a big part of our scene here in the Vail Valley. Friends have told me that they don’t know of any other mountain town that has tunes quite like we do. So get out and celebrate and support these artists, many of whom are locals.

The whole musical scene at the Mountain Games is called Mountain of Music, and that is spread across three different venues. The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, also known as The Amp, hosts the big concerts at night. Friday’s lineup includes Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country and Lotus and on Saturday Andy Thorn & Friends open up for Dispatch. These shows are ticketed shows, so go to to get tickets.

In addition to the paid shows at The Amp, Mountains of Music will continue through Sunday. Two stages will be set up with multiple acts playing. The at Golden Peak will offer live tunes next to all the food trucks. The will be located in Vail Village at Checkpoint Charlie, just a few steps away from Gore Creek. A list of performers and times they will play can also be found at .

Go to Dog Town

All sorts of dog competitions and vendors with dog products can be found at Dog Town in Lionshead during the GoPro Mountain Games.
GoPro Mountain Games/Courtesy photo

One of the most popular places to go during the GoPro Mountain Games is in Lionshead. This venue is home to all the Pro Plan DockDogs Extreme Vertical, Outdoor Big Air, Speed Retrieve and Super Wall events. Dogs and their handlers come from far and wide to compete in these contests that test dogs’ speed, distance and jumping abilities.

Practice and qualifying rounds start early each day at 8 a.m. and finals are held late afternoon. Surrounding the competitions you’ll find plenty of vendors who have dog-related businesses and services and plenty of fun SWAG.

. As of press time on Thursday, five dogs had already been adopted and the goal is to have 20 dogs adopted by the time the event wraps up on Sunday. Stop by and visit the dogs and maybe give one a fur-ever home.

Attend a CoLab Program

The CoLab stage at Solaris in Vail Village will host a multitude of topics that will educate and inspire. From learning about tips for taking better videos and photos on your GoPro to meeting the Vail Avalanche Dogs, there will be some great programs you won’t want to miss. One of those will be with a juggler. Yes, juggling can be an extreme sport. The Teton Juggler and Warriors of Wonder have juggled while cycling, slacklining and while on the slopes. Hear their stories and be amazed. Meet The Bucket List Family and find out how they have traveled the world with their family of five and keep on adding to their bucket list of things to do. Each day will also feature the Mountain Game(s) Show, where athletes (pros and joes) will compete against each other with a mental challenge and a physical challenge.

Bring the kids

Get as dirty as you want during the Nature Valley Mountain Mud Run, which is a fun and family-friendly event held on Saturday.
GoPro Mountain Games

Get the kids started early by enjoying an active outdoor lifestyle by attending the GoPro Mountain Games. The Hangout at Golden Peak has free activities like the kids SUP and kayak pool where they can hop on a standup paddleboard or paddle around in a kayak in a safe environment. There is also a climbing wall and the Camp Coletrain Pop-up Music Camp. At 10 a.m. each day at the Mountain House Gear Town there will be a place for kids to try slacklining. On Saturday there will be several Orvis Kids Learn to Cast Clinics. GoPro Youth Climbing offers competitions and so does the Gates Kids Bike Races.

Look for a list of events and competitions that kids can do on . Let the kids decide what events they want to attend and if they want to get into the action and maybe earn an award for their age group.

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