2014 GoPro Mountain Games Day 2 - Climbing, Slopestyle, and Slacklining

I said today was going to be epic and it lived up to every aspect of the word. 

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On about 4hrs of sleep I stumbled over to the bouldering wall for the male qualifiers for the Bouldering World Cup. I climb a lot, or used to, but the problems (bouldering routes) that were set for the athletes were WAY harder than anything I’ve ever seen. I knew that they were going to be tough but when Daniel Woods struggles a bit on some of them, you know it’s really hard. It’s been awesome seeing pro athletes all around you but climbing was different. I had to remind myself to shoot while climbers I’ve been following for years are climbing world class problems right in front of you. I tried my hardest not to act starstruck but when you bump into Kilian Fischhuberin the press pit it’s hard not to freak out a bit. 

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Since this was just the qualifiers I moved on after a while to the GoPro Slopestyle qualifiers. Holy hell. For those of you who have no clue of what I’m talking about slopestyle is where you take dirt jumpers (bikes made especially for huge dirt jumps) down a course of HUGE dirt jumps, ramps, and drops. These guys are not your typical mountain athletes, wearing skinny jeans, skate shoes, and v-necks, but they are tough as nails. They are doing backflips off of jumps where they will reach 25ft+ off the ground in just full face helmets, no other pads. It’s a pretty epic spectacle. 

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I then walked over to the beginning round of the Slacklining World Cup. The best trickliners from all over the world had showed up to compete. People flew in from South America, Europe, even as far as Japan. I didn’t stay long because I had to head back to the finals of the GoPro Slopestyle but I stayed long enough to see probably the most well known and entertaining trickliner, Andy Lewis aka “Sketchy Andy”. Like his name insinuates, he’s crazy. You might know Andy from his Super Bowl Halftime Show appearance with Madonna. He’s always smiling and truly enjoys slacklining in all forms. The biggest trick of the day was of course pulled by Andy and it’s called a Squirrel Flip, where you do a backflip and grab you ankles behind you while you’re in the air and then land back on the line on your feet. 

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In the finals of the GoPro Slopestyle you can imagine how much bigger the riders were going. For some of the jumps they were playing it safe during warm ups but they pulled out all the stops during the finals. 360’s off the drop in, tail whip flips, and the open loop were all hit during the finals. It was so fun to watch and see how the riders supported and cheered for each other. 

Click here to view a full screen gallery.

Time for some sleep to rest for more mountain biking and climbing tomorrow! 

John