Jumping dogs, battling kayakers, slackline stunts: Sports of 'GoPro Games'

Thousands of mountain-sports fanatics descend upon Vail, Colo., each June for the Mountain Games. As always, this year’s newly-minted “GoPro Mountain Games” hosts some of the weirdest activities seen in competitive outdoor sports, including dog jumping, SUP board sprints, and boaters in body armor ready to “attack” competitors in a full-contact kayak race. Here are a few of our faves. —Stephen Regenold

8 Ball Kayak Sprint — There are obstacles and men in full body armor blocking your path. “If you run into one of them and get hurt, it’s because you were stupid.” That’s the pre-race pep talk seen in a video for competitors in the 8 Ball Kayak Sprint event.

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Competitors negotiate a 200-meter whitewater sprint course with the added challenge of paddle-wielding “8-Ballers” intentionally blocking your line. See it: Watch from the International Bridge in Vail Village (over Gore Creek). Finals take place on Sunday, June 9, at 4p.m. $500 to first place.

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Battle Royale on a river: “8 Ball Kayak Sprint” event; Photo © Preston Utley

DockDogs Big Air — Owner and dog-athlete work together to maximize distance leaped in this competition. A pool serves as the crash pad for dogs that sprint and jump as far as they can in a goal of getting a tossed toy… and a shot at winning the spot of top dog.

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Photo © Zach Mahone

Want to catch the canine action? See it: DockDogs Big Air finals take place on Sunday, June 9, at 4p.m. in Vail Village.

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Big air before the splash; Photo © Zach Mahone

Mud Run — Open to all runners — including kids and people in weird costumes! — the Eddie Bauer Mud Run is a short race with sloppy dirt slopes and a get-on-your-knees-and-crawl mud pit where all racers are guaranteed to get dirty.

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Photo © Tommy Whitcomb

New for 2013: Dogs now allowed! Bring a leash and let your pup come along for the muddy run. See it/Race it: Races start at 1p.m. on Saturday, June 8. Dog division is at 2:30. Meet at Golden Peak/Adventure Village area in Vail.

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Mountain running and mud on the Eddie Bauer Mud Run event; Photo © Tommy Whitcomb

Slackline World Championships — Front flips, spins, and the art of balancing on a not-taut line of webbing will be on display at the Slackline World Championships.

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Inverted slacker tricks on a thin line; Photo © Preston Utley

Beyond the pro-level showdown, anyone is allowed to try the slackline setup during demo times throughout the weekend. See it: Comps take place in the Gear Town area of Vail Village all days of the GoPro Games, with the finals on June 9th at 12:30pm.



SUP Surf Sprint — The whitewater of Gore Creek. A stand-up surfboard. A 3-mile course. Reach and pull to stroke downstream in balance on the Maui Jim SUP Surf Sprint, a race against the clock and the class II/III rapids found on the course. See it: Saturday, June 8, at 9:30am. Race on Gore Creek through Vail Village.

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Whitewater meets surf culture in the SUP Surf Sprint race down Gore Creek; Photo © Zach Mahone

—Follow our full coverage of the 2013 GoPro Games via the ‘Live at the Games’ channel, presented by Gerber. See you in Vail!

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