Former NFL, NHL players to join a diverse group at annual GoPro Mountain Games |

Former NFL, NHL players to join a diverse group at annual GoPro Mountain Games

John LaConte
Vail Daily
The GoPro Mountain Games will return June 9 to 13 in Vail after being canceled in 2020.
Courtesy photo

GoPro Mountain Games organizer Tom Boyd, of the Vail Valley Foundation, says this year could redefine what the Mountain Games mean to people seeking outdoor recreation.

Former NFL player Orlando Franklin; former NHL player Brooks Laich; former mixed martial artist Mark Weir; pro skier Chris Benchetler; eight-time world champion runner Joseph Gray; four-time mountain biking world champion Brian Lopes; and star yoga teacher Arielle Shipe are a few of the participants the 2021 GoPro Mountain Games has attracted.

Boyd said the diverse group of athletes showing interest in this year’s mountain games is a reflection of a collective yearning among people to enjoy some time together in the outdoors.

“We’re the only thing happening in the nation,” in terms of large outdoor recreation events, Boyd said.

The GoPro Mountain Games, celebrating music and arts in addition to the outdoors, are scheduled for June 9 to 13.

“There’s some races coming back, but nothing as big and as globally recognized as this is on the radar,” Boyd said. “It could turn out to be the most star-studded Mountain Games ever.”

While a diverse group of athletes continues to register, Boyd wants to stress the event is for anyone who wants to enjoy a kickoff to the outdoor recreation season in Vail.

“We want to ensure that both ’pro and Joe’ athletes can get back to the water, trails and competition after nearly a year of limited adventure sports competition opportunities,“ Boyd said.

Expanded coverage

The Vail Valley Foundation has also assembled a larger-than-usual reporting team to provide coverage of the events.

Emcees Selema Masekela, Max Rantz-McDonal, Wade Holland and producer/talent Ariel Tweto will join Outside Television hosts Pat Parnell and Chris Davenport this year.

With Outside Television recently merging with Pocket Outdoor Media — joining SKI magazine, Yoga Journal, Women’s Running, Triathlete, Backpacker, Climbing, Clean Eating, VeloNews, Trail Runner, FinisherPix and Warren Miller Entertainment — Boyd said this year’s event is poised to reach into the far corners of the Outside’s newly enlarged network.

“We’ll have TV people roving around all day, and then we’re doing four nights live from the GoPro Mountain Games,” Boyd said. “They’re going to be creating a super cool multi-media environment for everybody who wants to make it but can’t.”

In addition to the daily “SportCenter-style” coverage, Boyd says the event will also include three nights of GoPro Mountains of Music headliner concerts (in-person and livestreamed) from the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.

The Wolf Bros — Bob Weir, Don Was, and Jay Lane — will be joined by Jeff Chimenti and Greg Leisz along with The Wolfpack: Alex Kelly, Brian Switzer, Adam Theis, Mads Tolling and Sheldon Brown, for the Friday night concert. Remaining concerts have not yet been announced.

The Vail Valley Foundation has set up an email list to receive the latest news. Sign up at

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