Whats Up, West Coast?
This week I have something extra special cooked up for you and I am BEYOND excited to talk about it. No, I am not being dramatic when I say this extra special blog post is full of all my favorites.
Is it a list of Food? No.
Is it a group of cute animals? No.
Is it a link to free things? No.
Is it Music, Extreme sports, AND all the things listed before? Exactly!
I know what you are thinking, “Maggie how did someone create something that includes all that is perfect in the world?” and I don’t have the answer other than it does in fact exist and it’s none other than the GoPro Mountain Games located in Vail, Colorado.
Put on every year in June by the Vail Valley Foundation, the Mountain Games are host to world-class athletes. Men and women from around the world compete in events such as Rock Climbing, BMX, Kayaking, Rafting, River SUPing (look it up I promise you won’t be disappointed), Dog Athletics, Running, Slackline, and so much more.
Basically, if you can compete and do it outdoors, it’s at the Mountain Games. This year the weekend was jam-packed with events starting on Thursday and ending late Sunday Night. I have attended this event at LEAST five times in the past but never have I pushed myself to attend so many events (which I did all for you, my loyal readers).
Without further adieu, I give you a detailed account of my four days in Maggie Heaven a.k.a. The GoPro Mountain Games and all that I saw while in attendance. I also have included my “GoPro Games Survival Bag” so you know how seriously I took attending this festival all weekend long.
– Evolved Motion Backpack (look them up)
– Klean Kanteen (gift of GoPro Games)
– Bang Energy (gift of GoPro Games)
– Portable Charger
– Media Pass
– Mountain Hat (i.e. anything made by Patagonia)
– Dog Treats for my furry interviewees
– Maggie Treats for when I am getting hangry
Day One: Observe Your Surroundings
I used Thursday as a little “crash course” for the games to get my footing as to where each event was being held. This may sound silly but the games are spread apart the entirety of Vail and given certain districts or zones that hold certain events (view map to explain).
While my heart lies with Dog Town (left side of the map), all the real action was located in Gear Town (middle map). It was VERY easy to get lost, distracted and overwhelmed but I was loving every second of it. Not only are there world class athletes practicing and competing everywhere, there are outdoor/mountain lifestyle vendors everywhere! Organic Kombucha on tap? Sure! Collapsible hammock and sustainable camping instruction? Definitely! Free Dog treats and stickers at every tent? You betcha.
P.S. I love stickers so if you start to sense a theme here with my pictures it’s because I have a bad habit of putting them on EVERYTHING I own.
After about 4 hours of strolling through the games, I took a quick drive back to my place to get changed for the evening entertainment: Chris Robinson Brotherhood. Fun fact, this band got its claim to fame due to the previous band leads membership in The Black Crowes. It was a pretty full show for a Thursday night jam band concert and if I’m being honest, WAY better than I was expecting. In fact, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about the evening was my decision to not bring a jacket.
Day Two: The Big Leagues
Day Two started off strong with semi-finals in both Kayak Freestyle and Slackline International Invitational. For those of you who do not know (which is understandable), Slackline is a sport that requires the participant to balance on a tightrope-like-line and perform tricks. For a more detailed explanation click here.
The things that people can do on these lines are INCREDIBLE! I saw a man balance over a river; a woman do a backflip on a line and A CHILD jump 5 ft in the air, landing in perfect balance. I. Was. Impressed.
For a look at last years highlight reel check out this video. I accidentally spent at least 3 hours watching adults jump up and down on a tiny rope, which meant I missed the beginning of what would shortly become one of my favorite events. Vail Village has a permanent whitewater installment under one of the main walking bridges specifically for Kayak Freestyle (neat!) and the professionals did not disappoint. Here are some cool shots I took of some of my favorite competitors. DO NOT try any of this at home!
Now I have to be honest with you guys, I may or may not have under-prepared myself as properly as I could have for the mountain sunshine and ended the day with an insane sunburn and total lack of energy. Which meant I missed the evening entertainment St.Paul and The Broken Bones. Which yes, I was really bummed about. BUT! I knew that if I took the evening to rest I could enjoy even more fun the next day. In case you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I highly recommend the soothing sounds of Dr. Dog (who we did a campaign with! Check it out here!) and Burt’s Bees Soothing Aloe Lotion.
Day Three: The Last Hoorah
I’m aware that I promised you four days of entertaining commentary but I was so excited I accidentally attended every event at least twice in the first three days. With that being said here is a power ranking of my favorite things I saw on my last day exploring the festival that I haven’t mentioned so far!
1. SUP SuperCross
SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboarding. In this event, paddle boarders are required to paddle down a river through different “gates” placed throughout the river course. This requires an insane amount of balance and an attention to detail on the course that I never could dream of having
2. Dock Dogs: Dueling Dogs
Dock Dogs: Dueling Dogs is always a fan favorite because it includes, yes you guessed it, dogs. Two trained dogs go head to head to see who can jump the highest, farthest and fastest in pursuit of a chew toy located at the end of the pool. Any type or size of dog can enter which makes for some funny-not-so-successful leaps from very cute pups!
3. IFSC Rock Climbing World Cup
This happens to be the ONLY stop on US soil that the IFSC World Cup makes so not only do you see competitors from around the globe, you see spectators from near and far as well. Hundreds of people come out every year to watch world champions pick a line and free climb to the top of some very hard rock courses. If you are into climbing this is an event definitely worth attending.
While these top three were the most exciting highlights, there were over 47 different free events to watch and participate in including a 10k, daily yoga, a dog show, water sports instruction and a bike race. If you are interested in looking into any of these free events for next year, check out the link to GoPro Mountain Games located at the top of this article.
Long story short I experienced the best of the best of what mountain sports had to offer and then I headed home to get changed into something warmer before the nightly entertainment!
Night Time Entertainment: Come Early and Come Prepared
I arrived at the concert for the night a little later than planned, it turns out I’m not very good at staying motivated for more than 8 hours of activity at a time. Which, sadly meant I missed out on the SUPER COOL Silent Disco the venue was hosting as the “opening act” for The Wood Brothers. The Wood Brothers had been described as “Country Folk Meets Electrified Blues Funk” on the GoPro Games Website. They were not wrong! They were folky, funky and had me dancing with my friends late into the night. In fact, I enjoyed them so much I reached out to them to do a follow-up interview! I’ll let you guys know if things go our way but until then check out a link to one of my favorite songs they performed here.
Overall the GoPro Mountain Games were amazing (as always). I highly recommend if you find yourself in the Rocky Mountains in early June you check them out! So what am I up to this week? I am off to the one and only (Colorado) Country Jam! I will be camping for four days on the festival grounds in Mack, Colorado and have set up EIGHT different interviews with up and coming country music stars. We will be doing a super cool interview series called “”Eight for Eight” to give you guys a more personal and in-depth experience when it comes to Country Jam! Excited? Me too! Check in next week and see what kind of trouble I get into.
Maggie Shaffer is a recent college graduate, receiving her B.A. in Communications from High Point University. She is originally from Colorado and is an Account Management Associate at Creative Allies. Maggie loves all things music and hopes to one day attend a concert on (almost) every continent in the world.
Guest contributors are the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of Creative Allies Inc. or its affiliates.