Winter Mountain Games 2013

The second annual Winter Mountain Games came to Vail, Colorado over the past weekend. I had the incredible opportunity to shoot for the Vail Valley Foundation alongside Colorado photographers Zach Mahone, Connor Walberg and David Clifford.

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

Colorado served up warm bluebird skies for Friday morning’s 10K Nordic Freestyle Ski race in East Vail. It was a perfect way to kick off the weekend’s events but the sunshine didn’t last long. In less than 24 hours storm clouds would roll into the valley bringing with them significant snowfall.

10k Nordic Freestyle Ski

10k Nordic Freestyle Ski

That evening found me aiming my Nikkor lenses at Josiah Middaugh lining up for the start of the Eukanuba X-Country 10K Snowshoe presented by RuffWear.

Eukanuba X-Country 10K Snowshoe presented by RuffWear

Eukanuba X-Country 10K Snowshoe presented by RuffWear

Shortly afterward athlete’s and their dogs em-barked (sorry) on the the Eukanuba X-Country 5K Snowshoe presented by RuffWear.

Eukanuba X-Country 5K Snowshoe presented by RuffWear

Eukanuba X-Country 5K Snowshoe presented by RuffWear

Just around the corner from the snowshoe starting line, at the base of Vail Mountain‘s Golden peak, climbers competed in the Eddie Bauer Mixed Climbing finals.

Eddie Bauer Mixed/Climbing Wall

Eddie Bauer Mixed/Climbing Wall

The next morning I was up before the sun to cover the biggest Ski Mountaineer event in the US  – the Eddie Bauer SkiMo competition. Just as the first few athlete’s crested the ridge of Vail Mountain’s Eagle Nest the mountains were enveloped in blinding storm clouds, moments later those clouds started dumping snow and didn’t let up.

Eddie Bauer Ski Mountaineering

Eddie Bauer Ski Mountaineering

Sunday morning the powerful winter storm was still punishing the Vail Valley with snow for the start of the Bud Light Vail Uphill competition.

Bud Light Vail Uphill

Bud Light Vail Uphill

In the short amount of time it took me to photograph the start of the Bud Light Vail Uphill at the base of Vail Mountain’s Lionshead Village, jump on the  Eagle Bahn Gondola and ride it to the top of Vail Mountain I only had a few minutes to get ready before Josiah Middaugh crossed the finish line. I’ve photographed Middaugh a number of times and I’m still blown away by his athletic performance – the man’s a machine.

Bud Light Vail Uphill

Bud Light Vail Uphill

The weekend storm lingered around our valley into the afternoon and the start of the Dual Bike Slalom presented by Bud Light at Golden Peak.

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

Wendy Palmer from Moab, Utah took gold for the Women’s Dual Bike Slalom. I love watching and shooting all the Winter Mountain Game events but the excitement of the bike events are definitely some of my favorites.

Wendy Palmer - 1st Place Winner of the Women's Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

Wendy Palmer – 1st Place Winner of the Women’s Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

All weekend I kept hearing spectators and athlete’s say how much fun they were having, and how could you not? Fresh snow, crazy winter events and dogs made for another incredible weekend in Vail.

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

During the weekend the Vail Valley Foundation announced that GoPro would be the title sponsor for the 12th Annual Summer Mountain Games June 6-9, 2013. It’s such a perfect fit.

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

Dual Slalom presented by Bud Light

I’m stoked to see how much people have embraced the Winter Mountain Games and, for the second year in a row, how the games have coincided with incredible snow conditions for the Vail Valley. See you in June!

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