Diamond Anniversary: 10th Annual Teva Mountain Games June 2-5

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Get ready to rock out your Rocky Mountain bling. 2011 marks the 10-year anniversary of the Teva Mountain Games (TMG). Diamonds are the traditional gift for a decade of mutual admiration, just ask your spouse. Not that you’ll find many athletes sporting jewels in Vail June 2-5; tradition flies out the window when there is a race to win. Besides, those things are heavy.

What began as a regional, grassroots whitewater competition has transformed into the largest adventure sports festival in the country and serves as the unofficial kickoff to summer in the Rockies. This year’s festival promises to be the biggest and best yet, with a blockbuster four-day schedule that includes new and improved events, concerts and nightlife.

With the growth of the festival and expansion of events there are plenty of competitions that take advantage of the various terrain offered by the Rocky Mountain outdoors. However, this being a paddle-sports focused website, the folks here at PL would like to shed a little extra light on the whitewater events that started it all.

Steep Creek Championship Classic: June 2nd
Location: Homestake Creek/Red Cliff
Entry fee: $40 Online/$50 On-site
Prize payout: Male/Female categories
1st $2000
2nd $1000
3rd $500
Important Times:
8AM- Registration Opens
8:30AM- Steep Creek Practice
9:30AM- Steep Creek Time Trials Begin

Dropping a whopping 480 feet per mile, Homestake Creek is a paddling gem that was once known only to Vail Valley locals. Then, in 2002, local weatherman, shuttle driver and pro kayaker extraordinaire Ken “Hobie” Hoeve hosted a successful grassroots race on the creek with no more than a keg of beer waiting at the finish line.

In 2003, the Mountain Games took Homestake Creek nationwide as some of the world’s best paddlers hucked their meat down drops like “Leap of Faith” and “Piece of S**t.” Race rules are simple – the fastest time to the finish line of the ¼ mile creek wins.

Rules have changed just a hair…only the top 10 boaters in the male and female divisions will advance after the first run to the second run to determine the winner. Please note, start order is determined by date of registration; the first ones to register are the last to run Homestake in the first round. Due to the popularity of this event, 2011’s registration numbers will cap out. So register now!

The organizers want potential competitors to know the Steep Creek Championship is a kayak race for ONLY the most experienced whitewater kayakers. All participants must be a proficient Class V expert kayaker and have kayaked the race course prior to the competition.
For a complete rundown on the Steep Creek Challenge rules and how to enter check out:SteepCreekChallenge

Whitewater Rodeo: Kayak Freestyle June 3-4
Location: International Bridge/Vail Whitewater Park
Entry Fee: $35 Online/$45 On-site
Prize payout: Male/Female categories
1st $2000
2nd $1000
3rd $500
Important times:
June 3, 1PM Qualifier
June 4, 11AM Semi-Final
June 4, 4:15PM Finals

This mainstay of the Teva Mountain Games features the world’s best playboaters in an old-fashioned throw-down at the Vail Whitewater Park.

Each kayaker has a timed run to throw his best cartwheels, loops, tricky-wu’s, phonics monkeys, space Godzilla’s and more in an attempt to impress the judges and the crowd for the highest combined score. Each competitor will have one minute to use their skills and athleticism in the park to try and score the most points possible.

For a complete rundown on the Rodeo rules and how to enter check out:WhitewaterRodeo

“8” Ball Kayak Sprint: Full Contact Kayaking June 5
Location: International Bridge/Vail Whitewater park
Entry fee: $30 Online/$35 On-site
Prize payout: Male/Female categories
1st $500
2nd $250
3rd $100
Important times:
10:15AM Qualifier
4PM Finals

The Bud Light Lime 8 Ball Kayak Sprint powered by Dagger Kayak is kayaking’s version of NASCAR, where rubbin’ is racin’. After a floating start at the Covered Bridge, as many as ten kayakers will push, shove and jostle their way through a 200 meter sprint in the narrow confines of Gore Creek. Along the way, boaters must avoid being knocked off by the 8 Ballers – loathsome kayakers in full body armor waiting patiently to attack the sprinters and slow them down throughout the course. The race organizers would like potential competitors to know that the “8” Ball Kayak Sprint is a kayak race for experienced Class III whitewater paddlers only.

For a complete rundown of the “8” Ball Kayak Sprint rules and how to enter check out:“8”BallKayakSprint

Downriver Sprint: A Cold Burn June 4
Location: Gore Creek
Entry fee: $35 On-line/$40 On-site
Prize payout: Male/Female categories
1st $750
2nd $500
3rd $250
Important times:
8AM Start

Drop your boat in the Vail Village, jump on the shuttle, and rock out to the East Vail put in (your boat will be waiting for you.) Make sure to cram carbs before the race – you’ll need them for the 4 mile paddle back to the International Bridge! With a rally race format, kayakers drop at timed intervals so you’ll be racing against the clock, and if you’re really rockin’ you may be able to catch someone! The best part about the Down River Sprint: you can race on just about anything that floats!

Important: There is NO day-of registration for this race. All interested athletes must pre-register on the event website or on-site at the registration area on Friday, the day before the race. Also, you must drop off your boat in Vail Village on Friday evening. You and your gear will then be shuttled to the put-in on Saturday morning. There is no parking at the put in.

For a complete rundown of the Downriver Sprint rules and how to enter check out:DownRiverSprint

SUP Surf Sprint: SUP the Gore June 4
Location: Gore Creek
Entry fee: $35 Online/$40 On-site
Prize payout: Male/Female categories
1st $750
2nd $500
3rd $250
Important times:
9:30 AM Start

Mirrored off the classic Down River Sprint, the Maui Jim SUP Surf Sprint presented by C4 Waterman is a race against the clock in the heart of Vail on Gore Creek. Anyone up for the challenge will run this 3-mile stretch of Gore Creek from East Vail to Vail Village SUP style. Competitors must stand strong because snow melt from the nearby Gore Range makes for icy waters while navigating the class II/III course. Mix in a handful of low bridges, drops and wave trains as paddlers battle it out in the SUP’ing of Gore Creek.

Like the Downriver Sprint There is NO day-of registration for this race. All interested athletes must pre-register on the event website or on-site at the registration area on Friday, the day before the race. Again, you must drop off your boat in Vail Village on Friday evening. You and your gear will then be shuttled to the put-in on Saturday morning. There is no parking at the put in.

For a complete rundown of the SUP Surf Sprint rules and how to enter check out:SUPSurfSprint

SUP SurfCross: Full Contact SUP Battle June 5
Location: Gore Creek
Entry fee: $30 Online/$35 On-site
Prize payout: Male/Female categories
1st $500
2nd $250
3rd $100
Important Times:
8AM Qualifier
3PM Finals

A Stand Up Paddle battle royal on Gore Creek. Protective gear is a must for this mass-start-every-man/woman-for-themselves-format. The first to survive the 200 yard sprint from the pedestrian bridge behind the Vail Athletic Club/Terra Bistro to Sapphire near Vail’s Whitewater Park will take the top spot on the podium. Think Snowboarder Cross or Skier Cross on SUP boards in class II-III Gore Creek. It’s going to be rowdy.

For a full rundown on the SUP SurfCross rules and how to enter check out:SUPSurfCross

Teva Raft Cross: X-Stream Raft Carnage June 5
Location: International Bridge/Vail Whitewater Park
Entry fee:
$50 Online/$60 On-site
Prize payout: Teams
1st $500
2nd $250
3rd $100
Important times:
12PM Qualifier
2PM Finals

Similar to the Bud Light Lime “8” Ball Kayak Sprint, the Teva Raft Cross is a raft race (two person catarafts) on the Class II / III whitewater of Gore Creek in Vail Village. Two person teams will have a chance to showcase their speed, agility and aggression in a timed qualifying run through the heart of Vail Village on Gore Creek. Teams will then be placed in “race pods” of no more than three teams to go head to head in the Vail Whitewater Park (1/10th of a mile). The winner advances to the next round. Along the way, rafters will have to navigate no less than 2 upstream gates and don’t forget RAMMING IS ALLOWED. The Teva Raft Cross is a rafting competition not to be missed!

For a complete rundown of the Raft Cross rules and how to enter check out:RaftCross

Yes, aside from all the paddle-sports events there are also competitions in biking, climbing, running, even fishing and canine events! Then there is the mother of all events. The Iron-man Alcatraz challenge has nothing on The Ultimate Mountain Challenge. The GNC Ultimate Mountain Challenge presented by GoalZero is a test of athletic skill, power and endurance where athletes will push through some of the most demanding races at the Teva Mountain Games. Athletes’ combined time in the 10K Spring Runoff, X-Country Mountain Bike, Road Bike Time Trial and either the Class II Down River Sprint or SUP Surf Sprint will determine the ultimate pro man and woman and the ultimate amateur man, woman and team.

Entry fees:
Individual PRO $150
Individual AMATEUR $125
Team AMATEUR ONLY $160
(Amateur Teams must be COED)
Prize payout: PRO Male/Female Categories
1st $2000
2nd $1000
3rd $ 500

For a complete rundown on Ultimate Mountain Challenge start times, rules, and how to enter check out: UltimateMountainChallenge

And last, but not least it wouldn’t be a mountain festival without some parties! In addition to the Bud Light Mountains of Music free concerts at Checkpoint Charlie on Thursday night with The Dirty Heads and Saturday night with Xavier Rudd, the new Aloha Happy Hour presented by C4 Waterman, Maui Jim and Korbel California Champagne will take place at the SUP Demo Pool on Meadow Drive on Saturday afternoon. It’s a free block party, TMG style. And the social highlight of the Games, the Teva Mountain Ball, has moved west to bōl at the Solaris and will go down on Saturday at 10pm. Don your favorite Tevas and get ready to party like a raft guide.

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