GoPro Mountain Games 2024 Day 1: A Celebration of Athletic Spirit for All Ages

Every June, athletes of all shapes, sizes, passions, careers, backgrounds, genders and experiences gather in our backyard to kick off the summer. Today was the first competition day at GoPro Mountain Games, where the lush Vail Mountain set the backdrop for Rocky Dog Fun Run. Families frolicked throughout the Nature Valley Mountain Plaza; participants traveled through varied mountain terrain, from forest service access dirt roads to singletrack and more. As I gathered to cover this event, I found a comforting sense of comradery. I noticed everyone, including the four-legged athletes, were brimming with enthusiasm and energy.

GoPro Mountain Games - Rocky Dog Fun Run

The Covered Bridge team at the Rocky Dog Fun Run.

I spoke with a family of five from Denver: the Sturnos. The eldest son was racing with the family’s canine companion. The younger, 12-year-old twin brothers, Finn and Luca, and the parents, Misha and Andrew, were fearless cheerleaders this event. Finn and Luca were wrestling in the grass when I came over and chatted with them. There was, undoubtedly, some fun-loving competition going on from the sidelines and proud parents beside them. A true family of athletes.

Misha, with pleasure, told me her and Andrew have been coming up for Mountain Games for 19 years. The valley holds a special place in their hearts. In fact, the two were married at The Chapel at Beaver Creek. The family of athletes shared that sports and competition play an important role in their lives.

Although Misha and Andrew are not on organized sports teams, Mountain Games gives them that same sense of community and outlet.

“I love the atmosphere and experience of [GoPro Mountain Games],” Andrew exclaimed. “[I enjoy] the adrenaline you get from being a part of an organized race rather than your own.”

Misha explained that it is motivating to also watch other competitors at the events. There is no end to bettering oneself.

Finn and Luca also look forward to Mountain Games every year. The twins play football, soccer and cross country. I asked them if they like sports and they said “yes” in a way athletic, enthusiastic boys do. Luca loves practicing and playing with friends. Finn said that his favorite part is the feeling you get when you reach the finish line in cross country and here at GoPro Mountain Games. Their parents noted that sports also allow the boys to get rid of pent up energy.

This weekend is a time for all participants to remember that their sporting career never has to stop. GoPro Mountain Games is a haven for those young enough to still participate in organized sport teams and those strong enough to continue their passion for adventure and competition beyond traditional limits.