This weekend, Vail, Colo., will be inundated with hard-core athletes, outdoor enthusiasts and those looking to see human-powered athleticism at its best.
For the past 10 years, the Teva Mountain Games have swept into Vail in the summer with competitions, parties and challenges. Now the good times are rolling into the winter with the inaugural Winter Teva Mountain Games presented by Eddie Bauer, which officially open Feb. 10.
Start of something
Publicist for the Games, Elinor Fish, said the summer games typically draw about 40,000 spectators over the four-day run and the winter games should be a similar scale event.
“The summer games have been really growing and successful for 10 years,” Fish said. “It seemed like a natural evolution for Vail and Teva to expand into winter.
All of the events over the weekend are human-powered, which means there are no motorized sports at all. On the schedule are climbing, mixed climbing, snowshoe racing, mountain biking, Nordic freestyle and the bound-to-become-legendary Vail Uphill challenge. Plus, there will be a few competitions where elite and professional athletes can vie for cash prizes.
Of course there will be parties, concerts and gear giveaways at the event, which is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation.
Bad asses only
It costs $35 to register before the Feb. 12 Bud Light Vail Uphill challenge, and $45 on race day. Participants will start at the base of Vail Mountain and race up 2,200 feet to determine who is the baddest of the bad asses. Fish said participants could pick their traction of choice, whether it be snowshoes or Yaktrax.
“It’s a tough race open to anybody who wants to do it,” Fish said, adding that it's shaping up to be one of the biggest of the games. Though anybody can register, the event has drawn some pretty spectacular running talent including members of the U.S. National Mountain Running Team like Anita Ortiz, Brandy Erholtz and Megan Kimmel.
The inaugural games will also provide a venue for Teva, which introduced a line of bike products last year, to show off a few members of its new team in the some of the mountain bike events.
The Teva Mountain Games is a “great example of a great partnership between these different brands,” Fish said. Brands offering support of the event include Kru 82 and Thule, among others.
“It’s a pretty full weekend,” Fish said. And though hotels are booked up, “There are still lots of great opportunities for people from the front range to come out and take it in.”