Twice a year thousands of athletes and outdoor sports lovers travel to Vail Colorado for the GoPro Mountain Games, a high quality festival of fringe athletic competition and an absolutely great party. It’s the kind of event in which participants can watch world-class bikers, kayakers and runners one minute and be neck-deep in a Mud Run or concert the next. Even slackline pros compete in front of huge crowds in this swanky mountain town.
There are several easy ways to maximize the fun factor of outdoor sports festivals like the GoPro Mountain Games. Here are six ideas gleaned from years of experience.
Outdoor sports festivals, and the GoPro Games in particular, are designed with audience participation in mind. “It’s designed to be an event you can try,” said Paul Abling, the senior marketing and public relations manager for the Vail Valley Foundation. “The best way for people to expand their experience is give it a try.”
Cheer on a friend
While participating is great, sharing a sporting event with a friend or colleague is a great way to pass a weekend. Many of the events in the GoPro Games are slightly complicated and competitors love a friend at the starting line to watch over warm-ups and offer a word of kind encouragement before the starting gun goes off.
Vist onsite vendors
Outdoor sports festivals thrive on sponsors who create a buzzing village of product demonstrations and promotions. But the big bonus here is the freebies! Many booths hand out great product samples and demos. “Talk to a lot of booths and take advantage of demo opportunities,” Abling said.
Try something new
So you’re a runner? Try a kayak race. This is the perfect chance to switch up your game and try a sport you’ve never experienced. “Don’t be afraid of the course or experts,” Abling said. “If you’re curious about an event, definitely give it a try, that’s what it’s all about.”
Get Paid to Be There
All those booths, demos and displays require employees. What better way to spend a weekend than staffing a booth at what is effectively a big party with lots of cool attendees? Look for short term event help on Craiglist a few weeks before an event as many companies look for short event staff locally.
Have a flexible plan
The GoPro Games are huge and a little sprawling. Plan out your day to hit events that tickle your spectator heart but leave plenty of room for unexpected experiences. You never know when you’ll turn a corner and come face to face with a free zipline!
Don’t forget the music
After the sun sets the sports move over for some awesome bands. Don’t be surprised if that band name you don’t recognize blows up a few weeks later. You can say you knew them when.