Every summer for the past ten years Vail has been the place to be for the ultimate celebration of the mountain lifestyle as host of the Teva Mountain Games. Feb. 10 -12, athletes, artists and musicians will be back in Vail for the first annual Winter Teva Mountain Games presented by Eddie Bauer. I’ve witnessed some of the world’s toughest athletes compete in grueling events during the summer games. For the inaugural winter games, amateur and professional athletes will be pushed to their limits competing in events like mixed climbing, Nordic freestyle racing, ski mountaineering, telemark big air, dual slalom biking, snowshoe races and the Seven Wonders of Vail contest. Along with glory, athlete's are also competing for $60,000 in prize money.Continuing the same traditions found at the summer games, the first annual Winter Teva Mountain Games presented by Eddie Bauer will blend adventure activity contests with photo competitions, live music, equipment demos, outdoor films and some rocking after hours parties including the Teva Totally 80s After Party. With so much packed into these three days, I’ve
come up with a list of five competitions I can’t miss while the games are in town.
Mixed ClimbingFriday, Feb. 10Golden Peak Base AreaMen’s/Women’s Qualifiers: 10am, Men’s/Women’s Finals: 6pmA cornerstone event for the 2012 Winter Teva Mountain Games presented by Eddie Bauer, the mixed climbing competition pits elite athletes against each other in side by side mirror-imaged routes on a unique climbing structure custom designed for the games.
Dual Slalom BikeFriday, Feb. 10Golden Peak Base AreaStart: 3:30pmThis event has some carnage potential as premiere mountain bikers compete on a banked slalom course in a gnarly speed descent on Vail Mountain's Golden Peak.
Telemark Big AirSaturday, Feb. 11Golden Peak Base AreaPractice: 10am, Qualifiers: 11:30am, Finals: 6:30pmI’m in awe of telemark skiers and their free-healed ways. But telemark freeskiers competing in a big air jump huck-o-rama at the base of Golden Peak? Inconceivable! Practice and qualifiers happen before noon. Finals take place simultaneously alongside the Teva Best Trick Bike event at 6:30pm so plan to get there early enough to get a good spot.
Teva Best Trick BikeSaturday, Feb. 11Golden Peak Base AreaPractice: 1pm, Start: 6:30pm$10,000 prize purse!I was blown away by the Slopestyle event during last year’s Summer Teva Mountain Games so I’m stoked to check out the freeride mountain bikers who will be competing on the massive snow feature specially built for this huge air event. The biggest hits will take home the cash in this invitational comp judged for style and difficulty. Remember, this event will share airspace under the lights with the Telemark Big Air event at 6:30pm.
The Seven Wonders of VailSunday, Feb. 12Vail Mountain’s 7 Back Bowls - Sun Down Bowl, Sun Up Bowl, Tea Cup Bowl, China Bowl, Siberia Bowl, Inner Mongolia Bowl, Outer Mongolia Bowl8:30am - 2pmThe Seven Wonders of Vail event welcomes all skiers and snowboarders to hit all seven of Vail’s legendary Back Bowls in one day. That translates to 7 miles and 2,734 acres of terrain. Not only will you feel like a rockstar, but if you get scanned at all 7 bowls you’ll get the 7 Wonders Epic Mix Pin. Registered athletes will receive a ticket to claim a free drink, food and gift at the after party at Mountain Plaza from 2-4pm. Plus you’ll get a chance to win up to $1,000 in cash prizes at the party (must be present to win).
If you're up for a challenge, there are plenty of events everyone can compete in like the 5K and 10K X-Country Snowshoe races (one that even allows your dog!) and the Seven Wonders of Vail event. To help plan your weekend, here’s a comprehensive list of all the events and activities happening during the first annual Winter Teva Mountain Games presented by Eddie Bauer in Vail. See you at the games!--Steven DeWitt