Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
For the last decade, the GoPro Mountain Games has been one of the most-anticipated events of the summer, luring adventurous types to the Vail Valley for five days of competition in kayaking, trail running, mountain biking, and much more. From the events themselves to the buzz that permeates the region that week every June, the GoPro Mountain Games have become a magnet for summer-mountain types from all around the country.
Now, winter-mountain types have their very own adventure-sports event. The Winter Mountain Games will return to Vail on February 25-27, 2022. Return? Indeed. The winter iteration of the Mountain Games actually debuted in 2012 and were held again in 2013 before dissolving. This season’s return will be in a preview format featuring limited events, with the plan being to roll out a full slate of competitions for the Games’ official debut in winter of 2023.
So what’s in it for us skiers? There will be three ski mountaineering races throughout the weekend: An Individual distance event with four uphills and four downhills through Vail’s legendary Back Bowls; a Sprint comp featuring a challenging uphill and downhill on Vail’s steepest terrain; and the uphill-only Vertical event up Golden Peak.
Other events taking place throughout the Games include on-snow fat biking, cross-country snowshoeing, and an ice-climbing demo, plus live music and other spectator-driven performances and events. There’s also one race that’s straight-up for the dogs: A 5K Snowshoe Dog Derby will take place on Feb. 26, and medals will be awarded to the top three human-canine finishers. What’s more, dogs are welcome throughout the weekend at all of the venues.
“This year everyone will get a taste of just how awesome this event is going to be,” said Dave Dressman, Event Director of the Mountain Games for the Vail Valley Foundation. “We’ll have a great lineup of concerts and a weekend of competition, art, and lifestyle celebration that will be a very bright part of this winter in the Rockies. Then in 2023 we’ll turn it up yet another notch with additional competitions and events.”
Athletes interested in competing in any of the events should register now to lock in the lowest fees. Get more information about the SkiMo and other winter competitions here.