One of my favorite things about Colorado is that there isn't really a bad season. I come from an area where the summers are hot and humid and the winters are cold and cloudy, so the fact that Colorado goes from sunny and warm to sunny and cool to sunny and snowy on a ski hill is something that I always appreciate. And every year when the slopes start to close and the Rockies start playing, I get the Summer Mountain Itch. Hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, climbing...you name it. That's what makes the Teva Mountain Games worth visiting.
For five years I've wanted to check out the Games and finally made the trip up to Vail to see it this past weekend (its the first weekend in June each summer). Not knowing what to expect other than some amazing bouldering and kayaking competitions I'd seen covered in past years on 9News, I was pleasantly surprised when we parked the car and immediately stumbled upon the Eukanuba Dockdog long jump competition. Dogs jumping 18-25 feet into water? Yes, please.
After trekking down Vail's path through town we came to the Village - filled with climbing walls, food vendors, outdoor sports brands handing out schwag and selling products and a variety of competitions going on in and around town. We stopped to see the kayak freestyle event (guys and gals "surfing," Colorado-style) before grabbing a beer and finding a variety of things I didn't know I needed until I saw them. Some new Teva "Mush" kicks, a portable iPod speaker from Goal Zero, and a new neck gaiter for the 2011-12 snowboarding season - all at discounted rates.
The rest of the afternoon involved a fly-fishing spot casting competition, the bouldering World Cup (always amazing), mountain biking races, and a very entertaining Mud Run - all in 70+ degree mountain weather. Finally, the day ended with something I never knew existed - the Extreme Vertical Dog Competition, essentially a high jump for dogs off a dock into water. As I sat there in the sun with a mountain view watching a newcomer named "Jackson" start at 4'6" and take over the crowd as he made it all the way past the six-foot mark, and then witnessed a new world record (eight feet...the Craig's List dog jumped eight feet vertically!) I thought to myself, "Why am I not staying here tonight with my mutt, and when should I book my hotel for next year?"