Participation and attendance at the 15th annual GoPro Mountain Games held in Vail, Colo. recently are likely to set a record, event organizers reported.
Overall attendance data will require more time to compile, but all signs are pointing to a big year and a great future for the Mountain Games, which has had GoPro as a title sponsor since 2013.
Participant numbers jumped from 2,876 starts to more than 3,800, according to an unofficial count of preliminary registration numbers. Although a final spectator research study will not be completed for several more weeks, all indications are showing that 2016 had a huge leap in overall attendance. Organizers said that Thursday and Friday were likely record days, and the unofficial spectator count for Saturday could approach 30,000.
Vail Valley Foundation President and CEO Mike Imhof said he was extremely pleased with the incredible turnout and overall smooth operations of the event.
“It’s been a spectacular four days of competition, art, expos, and overall enjoyment,” Imhof said. “We are very pleased and we are grateful for the support of GoPro, the Town of Vail, the Towns of Red Cliff and Eagle, Vail Resorts, the U.S. Forest Service, the incredible work of more than 250 volunteers, and all of our partners and sponsors who make this the best celebration of mountain sports, music, and culture in the world.
“With the event’s growth trajectory, we will continue to develop and enhance the operations and logistics to accommodate increasing participation and spectating in future years.”
The event expanded territory in 2016 with action in Lionshead, the Town of Eagle, yoga on the lower bench of Ford Park and a free Bonfire DUB and Stephen Marley concert at the Gerald R Ford Amphitheater.
“No matter how you look at it – participation, enthusiasm, spectators, sponsor activations, music and just overall vibe ¬– this year’s GoPro Mountain Games exceeded even our most optimistic expectations,” said Dave Dressman, co-director of the event and Vice President of Sales and Sponsorships for the Vail Valley Foundation, which has hosted the event since 2009.
“We went to three new venues this year and whenever you do that, there are going to be certain question marks,” Dressman said. “However, in all regards, the expansion was a success.”
Dressman said there were many reasons this year’s event was a success.
“There was more of everything,” Dressman said. “Most of all there was more participation from our athletes, yogis, dogs and people. There was more sunshine. There was more excitement leading up to the event, more coverage from TEN and Outside Magazine and our friends in the media, more activation from our sponsors, more music, and more Mountain Games’ spirit all around. We couldn’t be happier.”
Next year’s event is tentatively scheduled for the second week of June.