2014 GoPro Mountain Games Day 1 - Kayaking and Slacklining

Every year in June the top athletes in summer mountain sports converge on Vail and compete in 21 events. 

I haven’t been to previous Mountain Games and my decision to come this year was a last minute one, but oh my lord am I glad I made it. I showed up in Vail around noon, got my press pass, and started exploring. 

Since today was the first day it was pretty light in terms of events. However right away I found a pretty big crowd around the river, and they were there for good reason. Some kayakers practicing for the freestyle competition and it was incredible. I’ve seen playboating before, even tried one out myself, but this was on a whole new level. Playboaters position themselves in the base of large river waves and do rolls, spins, and other tricks. The best trick, however, is a flip. Because of how buoyant a playboat is the kayaker can shove the front of the playboat into the water and as the boat is pushed back up the kayaker can use the momentum to fully flip the boat. It’s incredible. 

Click here to view a full screen gallery.

After kayaking I moved on and stumbled upon the trickliners. Tricklining is a form of slacklining on a really stretchy 2-inch wide line where they do spins, rolls, and flips. The ease at which these trickliners (some ranked in the top 10 in the world) moved around and executed their tricks on the line put in perspective the ability to control the human body. 

Click here to view a full screen gallery.

I then headed back over to kayaking, because it’s just too fun to shoot, and the slackliners were headed over to set up a highline. As it sounds, a highline is a slackline (usually 1-inch wide) higher that ten or fifteen feet off the ground. The people walking the line tied in with a harness and rope to two metal rings that the highline is passing through so that if they fall it will catch them long before hitting the ground. And it’s a pretty soft fall. Some people walk with less protection like swali (the safety line is tied into webbing that is looped around your waist), ankle lines (literally tied into your ankle), and solo (no ropes). 

Click here to view a full screen gallery.

Anyways, it’s just about 2am and I need some sleep. 

Tomorrow is when the epicness starts.

Stay tuned for bouldering, more slacklining, and slopestyle mountain biking.


John