Teva Mountain Games begin

GearJunkie.com’s Ryan Dionne is reporting live this weekend, June 3 – 6, from the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, Colo.

Mix a laid-back four days of parties, live music and new gear with some of the best athletes in the world and you’ll end up with the Teva Mountain Games, an annual event in Vail, Colo. The Games, which started Thursday with a “steep creek” kayaking championship and run through Sunday, June 6, are host to dozens of events, including “mud runs” on up to the likes of the International Federation of Sport Climbing Bouldering World Cup.

Teva Mountain Games bouldering competition

While last year the Gear Junkie crew was out in force, this year it’s just me throwing it down as the rest of the team is elsewhere around the country and world. We’ll see if my training pays off during the mountain bike race this weekend.

Note that I’m not necessarily out to win. The Games for me — and most people here — are primarily about hanging out with fellow athletes and getting a sneak peek at new gear in the outdoors world.

Perhaps the thing I’m looking forward to most are the stand up paddling (SUP) events. Also known as paddle surfing — because you stand atop a surfboard of sorts and paddle it with an elongated canoe paddle — the SUP athletes will be competing on the same whitewater that many of the kayakers paddle. New to the Games this year are the SUP Surf Sprint (think shooting rapids as fast as possible) and the SUP Surf Cross (skier-cross meets down-river travel).

SUP clinic at the Teva Mountain Games

While it’s not too hard on a lake, I can’t imagine SUP’ing on a cascading river. For the first time, I climbed on a board during a clinic Thursday and paddled around with no problem. Besides being a little wobbly it was much like paddling a canoe while standing up. On a river, I imagine it being a different experience altogether.

Stay tuned for a couple more Teva Mountain Games posts throughout the weekend. Or follow what I’m up to via Twitter.

—Ryan Dionne

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Stephen Regenold is Founder of GearJunkie, which he launched as a nationally-syndicated newspaper column in 2002. As a journalist and writer, Regenold has covered the outdoors industry for two decades, including as a correspondent for the New York Times. A father of five, Regenold and his wife live in Minneapolis.

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