“In several weeks we will know far more clearly what the actual metrics are, but in terms of athlete registrations and spectator attendance, we are on track for a record year.” – Mike Imhof, President and CEO, The Vail Valley Foundation, host of the GoPro Mountain Games.
Writer: Travis Poulin
The 2017 GoPro Mountain Games have wrapped up and organizers say it may be the best turnout in the event’s sixteen year history. This year’s rendition of the games, which took place in Vail, CO, saw beautiful summer weather and stiff competition from outdoor athletes from around the world.
“Everywhere we looked people were enjoying the event, the sunshine and all the action at our athletic events, our free concerts and our sponsor activations,” said Mike Imhof, president and CEO of The Vail Valley Foundation, which hosted the event. “In several weeks we will know far more clearly what the actual metrics are, but in terms of athlete registrations and spectator attendance, we are on track for a record year.”
The 2016 GoPro Mountain Games set a record with more than 67,000 overall spectators, more than 3,300 athletes, more than 120 sponsors and a more than $7 million economic impact. Organizers said that the 2017 version of the games is on course to continue a steady 16-year growth trend.
Consistent growth is not the one-and-only goal for the non-profit Vail Valley Foundation and its partners as they plan for the future, Imhof said.
“As the GoPro Mountain Games continues to substantially grow every year, what becomes very important to our team and our partners, town of Vail, Vail Resorts and the U.S. Forest Service, is how we continue to ensure that, with continued growth and more spectators, athletes, media and sponsors every year, the experience remains exceptional,” Imhof said.
This year the games saw many improvements including a new website and an interactive, mobile-friendly map, better signage, more shade, more access to water and a variety of food options.
The Vail Valley Foundation also hosted three nights of free concerts at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night for the first time.
“Something I noticed was that there was an amazing representation of so many walks of life at this event, from rock stars at our free concerts to Olympic gold medalists, to big wave surfers and even famous dogs,” said Dave Dressman, vice president of sales and sponsorship for the Vail Valley Foundation. “And all of us get to go compete right alongside them, watch from the bank of the river or cheer for the music at the Ford Ampitheater.”
In 2017 more than 140 brands came on board to be part of the games in Vail Village, Lionshead, Red Cliff and Eagle, CO.
“The weather was perfect and the quantity of beautiful imagery that will come out of the GoPro Mountain Games over the next few weeks and into next year is going to be incredible,” Dressman said.
The next GoPro Mountain Games are tentatively scheduled for June 7-10, 2018.
Lead photos courtesy GoPro Mountain Games/ second photo courtesy Dan Davis/ third photo courtesy John-Ryan Lockman