The first-ever Winter Teva Mountain Games take place in Colorado’s Vail Valley this weekend, February 10–12. Professional athletes to weekend warriors will compete for $60,000 in prizes in ski mountaineering, mixed climbing, mountain biking on snow, telemark big air, and more.
“I’ve been to the summer games several times to support friends,” says ice climber Sam Elias, a favorite to podium in mixed climbing. “This event can be even bigger.” Climbers are traveling from around the world to compete under the lights on an artificial wall in Vail’s Golden Peak base area Friday night. The athletes will use ice tools (crampons and ice axes) to ascend a mixed-material wall. (Watch it being built in the video below.) As spectators watch, two climbers will race to the top on mirror-image routes, an unusual stage for Elias and friends. “It’s probably the single greatest opportunity to expose mixed climbing to the world,” he says.
On the endurance front, Sari Anderson, who won the Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the summer games, will compete in ski mountaineering this winter. She says the hefty prize purse is bringing in the best, but there’s more to the weekend than money. “It’s so much fun, there’s so many different sports, and so many different types of athletes.”
The events range from high adrenaline (best trick bike and telemark big air) to straight up endurance tests (5K and 10K events in X-C snowshoe and Nordic freestyle). Free concerts, a photo competition, film showings, and parties also sprinkle the schedule. For more information, and to register for competition, visit tevamountaingames.com. Check back next week at mountainonline.com for daily coverage from Mountain. —Olivia Dwyer