Vail: Teva Mountain Games June 4-7

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From the Vail Insider:

The Teva Mountain Games, the nations largest mountain sporting event, returns to Vail June 4-7, 2009 for another four days of high-adrenline action and celebration of the outdoor lifestyle. The Games, acquired by the fine folks at the Vail Valley Foundation this winter, looks to be gearing up for its biggest year yet with a host of new cultural events and musical acts as well as the tried & true Teva traditions we’ve come to know and love. The event, arguably the biggest of the summer in Vail, can be a little daunting for the uninitiated, so here is Plum’s Teva Mountain Games 101 for making the most of the mountain sports events during your Teva experience…

Kayaking

The 2009 Teva Mountain Games will feature four kayaking events testing speed and agility, and competitors will need a healthy dose of both to secure a spot on the podium. The Steep Creek Championship will feature kayakers flying down a locals’ favorite, Homestake Creek, dropping 480 feet per mile while attempting to secure the fastest time. The 8 Ball Kayak Sprint is bumper cars meets Bullrun as kayakers power their way down Gore Creek and through fellow competitors. In addition to fellow sprinters, competitors will have to face 8 Ballers, fully-armored kayakers whose sole purpose in life is to impede the progress of the racers. If Teva Mountain Games has a full contact sport, this is it (read: American Gladiators). The Pro Kayak Freestyle is exactly what it sounds like – competitors will invade Vail Whitewater Park and throw their best and wildest tricks in an attempt to impress the judges, and crowd, and secure the most points possible. The Down River Sprint* will test competitors speed as they drop in (on practically anything that floats) in East Vail and race four miles to the International Bridge, with the top time taking the crown. The Pro Kayak Rodeo is far and away the most popular kayaking event, that routinely draws such kayaking luminaries as Eric Jackson as competitors. The crowds for this event will be thick, and if you want to view some of the best freestyle tricks make sure you show up to the Vail Whitewater Park early. The Steep Creek Championships are beyond thrilling, but are located outside of Vail at Homestake Creek, near Red Cliff. Trust us. They are well worth the short (and scenic!) trip up to Red Cliff. The 8 Ball Kayak Sprint and Down River Sprint are just downright entertaining. If you’re schedule is not too full up, you should make every attempt to view these events. As you may have been able to glean from this section, the kayaking events at Teva Mountain Games are fairly dominant. Be prepared for big excitement, and big crowds.

Rafting

Did you know that Mark Thatcher, the inventor of the Teva sandal, was a former rafting guide AND that the inspiration for the sandal came from the lack of quality amphibious footwear at the time? Whether intentional or not, each year the Teva Mountain Games does their inventor proud with a classic rafting event. The 2009 Teva Mountain Games will feature the Teva Raft Paddlecross, a two-person raft race down Gore Creek through Vail Village where competitors will face Class II & III whitewater conditions as well as fellow racers. In Teva Raft Paddlecross, ramming is allowed and, in fact, probably encouraged. Think 8 Ball Kayak Sprint…but with battleships on stormy waters.

Click through for descriptions of other featured sports and video from last year’s events.

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