GoPro Mountain Games will return to Vail for summer of 2021 after a missed year

Sean Naylor
Vail Daily
Photo Courtesy Vail Valley Foundation

The GoPro Mountain Games are on for 2021, the Vail Valley Foundation announced Friday morning. The event will take place June 10-13.

“We are BACK, and we could not be more excited to bring some joy, vitality and positivity into people’s lives in the fresh air and sunshine of this beautiful mountain setting,” said GoPro Mountain Games Event Director Dave Dressman. “It takes months of planning and many, many key partners to make this event happen. The support we have received from our sponsors, the town of Vail and Vail Resorts is remarkable, and it speaks to the power of the Mountain Games brand. We have looked at this from every angle and we feel confident we have a strong baseline plan to execute a safe, high-level, athlete-focused GoPro Mountain Games this June.”

An annual tradition of more than a decade, the GoPro Games were canceled in 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus. But after the hiatus, this year’ event will return with competition in whitewater, mountain biking, road biking, fishing, trail running, DockDogs, disc golf, yoga, a photo competition, three nights of GoPro Mountains of Music from the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (livestreamed and limited in-person capacity) and more.

Athlete registration is expected to open April 9. Learn more at

An athlete focus

The event will not be a cut-and-paste of years past, but instead will focus on the athletes, offering a core set of participatory events, substantial prize money, music, art, and a daily livestream and multi-media experience for those that are not able to attend in person.

In addition to being given a safe platform to compete in Vail for significant prizes, athletes will also receive presale access to the GoPro Mountains of Music concerts and other perks throughout the event.

“We know our athletes have missed the event and the opportunity to compete together in our mountain community. Allowing a safe return for our athletes is of utmost importance to us, so we have built a plan that can take place under current public health guidelines; but we are optimistic that we will be able to adapt quickly as the situation improves and public health orders allow,” said Sarah Franke, the vice president of marketing and operations for the Vail Valley Foundation. “To that end, we will continue to focus on what can be done to ensure the event is as fun, energetic and celebratory as possible.'”

The Vail Valley Foundation will announce more information, updates, and details as the event draws near.

Athletics events will include:


  • Road bike time trial
  • TIAA Bank XC Mountain Bike
  • TIAA Bank Kids’ Bike Race
  • Bosch eBike Challenge

Fly Fishing

  • YETI 2 Fly X-Stream
  • YETI Catch Wars


  • Pacifico Gore Creek Kayak Challenge
  • GMC Down River Kayak Sprint
  • GMC Kayak Freestyle


  • Pacifico Down River R2 Raft Sprint


  • YETI Down River SUP Sprint


  • Orijen DockDogs Outdoor Big Air*
  • Orijen DockDogs Extreme Vertical*
  • Orijen DockDogs Speed Retrieve*
  • Dueling Dogs

*This year’s DockDogs events will be classified as a National Championship, with increased prize money

Trail running

  • Adidas Terrex 10K Spring Runoff
  • Nature Valley Après 5K
  • Rocky Dog Trail Run
  • Pepi’s Face-Off presented by JUNK Brands

Disc Golf

  • Mountain Masters Disc Golf


  • Limited capacity, physically distanced, outdoors


  • GoPro Mountain Click Photo Competition

Previously held events that will not be a part of this year’s event are: Slackline; World Cup climbing competition; select whitewater events, including Steep Creek Championship; and the Ultimate Mountain Challenge.

Spectators and physical distancing

In-person spectating opportunities are likely to be limited or unavailable due to physical distancing requirements, but organizers are aware that the public health landscape may change as the event draws near.

The GoPro Mountain Games typically feature sponsor tents and activations from more than 140 sponsors, known as “Gear Town,” however that will not be the case in 2021. Additionally, some competition venues will be eliminated altogether, and others will be moved, in order to create firm boundaries where capacity and physical distancing can be managed.

Details on COVID-19 protocols at the event will be made public closer to the start of the Games. The Vail Valley Foundation is working closely and in conjunction with public health officials to ensure that the event operates within guidelines.

Confirmed changes include:

  • Removing/eliminating Gear Town and sponsor activations & tents
  • Elimination of all Lionshead village activations
  • Moving DockDogs out of Lionshead
  • Elimination of the Steep Creek venue in Red Cliff
  • Elimination of climbing venue in Mountain Plaza
  • Elimination of VIP area/access

The Town of Vail and its hotels, restaurants, and miles of outdoor hiking and biking trails will still be open and active during the GoPro Mountain Games.

Music, livestreaming, and virtual events

For those who may not be able to compete but want to connect and engage with the GoPro Mountain Games, the Vail Valley Foundation is raising the bar for this year’s event in several ways:

  • The introduction of a daily live show during the event in partnership with Outside TV
  • A GoPro-camera livestreamed concert series from the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater
  • Virtual events, contests and activities leading up to and during the event