Vail’s Teva Mountain Games change hands |

Vail’s Teva Mountain Games change hands

Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily fileThe Teva Mountain Games, which take place in June, feature several whitewater events, including kayaking. The Vail Valley Foundation reached a deal Tuesday to buy the games from an Edwards, Colo. marketing firm.

VAIL, Colo. ” When Vail locals look behind the scenes of some of the biggest events in the Vail Valley ” the Birds of Prey World Cup races, shows at the Vilar Center for the Performing Arts, the Vail International Dance Festival ” they see it’s the Vail Valley Foundation putting on the shows.

So when talks began about the foundation taking over the Teva Mountain Games ” arguably the most recognized and talked about annual Vail event ” it seemed like a natural fit, said Ceil Folz, president of the Vail Valley Foundation.

Untraditional Marketing, an Edwards, Colo. firm that built the Teva games into what they are today, officially sold the games to the Vail Valley Foundation on Tuesday. Neither party would divulge the price of the deal.

The sale means the event, which features professional and amateur athletes competing in summer sports like kayaking, rafting, fly-fishing, climbing, mountain biking, cycling and trail running, isn’t going anywhere.

“This (acquisition) makes sense in that it’s a great community event ” one we would like to make sure stays here,” Folz said. “It’s a great fit for the community.”

Untraditional Marketing crafted the event seven years ago and wanted to make it a world-class adventure event, said Joel Heath, president and CEO of Untraditional Marketing. Heath said he feels his company has achieved that, and this latest move will take the games where they need to head in the future.

Heath had concerns that as the games grew each year, they were at risk of moving to another location, he said. The Vail Valley Foundation can make sure it stays put.

“I think the Mountain Games will be stronger,” Heath said. “The best is yet to come.”

Heath is taking on a two-year consulting role with the Vail Valley Foundation to make sure the transition runs smoothly. He’ll meet with the foundation next week to talk about ideas and what’s next.

As for whether the new leadership will change the face of the games, Folz says most people shouldn’t notice a major difference.

“We’d like the transition to be seamless,” she said.

And taking on a festival of this size, with up to 2,500 athletes from around the world and 35,000 spectators, won’t be unfamiliar for an organization that hosts several events that draw large crowds.

The foundation’s excitement about the Teva games doesn’t just stop at its size or prestige, either, Folz said. Many foundation employees have competed in various events and are already passionate about the games, she said.

Heath said he feels comfortable handing over the reins. He’s had a good relationship with the foundation through the years, and feels it will always put the games, its athletes and the community first, he said.

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