Posted by: Ross Leonhart
Last summer, the Minturn Bike Park welcomed riders of all ages and abilities during its first full season of operation. This summer, the impressive new course will make its debut as part of the 20th anniversary GoPro Mountain Games with the GoPro Dual Slalom head-to-head competition.
The Vail Valley Foundation and GoPro have partnered with Strait Acres, the Town of Minturn and the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance to create this exciting new event.
With $12,000 in prize money on the line, the inaugural event will surely excite riders and spectators alike!
Dual slalom bike racing features head-to-head competition on side-by-side tracks as two riders throw down at the Minturn Bike Park. A differential is taken from one rider to the next, then racers switch sides and battle it out again until the top three are standing on the podium. Be prepared for tight berms, big rollers and exciting jumps.
Hired by the Mountain Games organizer the Vail Valley Foundation, Rachel and Kyle Strait will act as specialists and advisors of the GoPro Dual Slalom event, working with the VVF staff & VVMTA staff to ensure the Dual Slalom is an exceptional experience for all who compete and spectate. They started their trail-building and race-hosting company Strait Acres during the pandemic in 2020. Kyle was always building “unofficial” bike tracks, but with time on their hands the couple decided to make it a legit business by building Kyle’s “dream tracks” on their 11-acre property in San Diego, California, and hosting a professional competition.
“One thing Kyle tries to do with every track is he wants to make them very fun for amateurs,” Rachel said. “So everything’s rollable and there’s no mandatory gaps or stuff like that, but if you’re at the pro level where you’re going high speeds, you’re going to have to make those rollable features into doubles to be competitive. What sets Kyle apart is that he’s able to make tracks that are not only fun for amateur racers but also super fun and challenging for pro racers.”
The GoPro Dual Slalom kicks off the six-day Mountain Games this year on Tuesday and Wednesday, June 7-8. Divisions include men’s and women’s pro/open, amateur expert, amateur sport and amateur beginner. Protective gear is recommended for all riders. The pro/open men’s and women’s divisions boasts a prize purse of $12,000. Additionally, the Mountain Games also hosts 30 other competitions including the XC MTB and a Road Bike TT, a total of over $130,000 in cash prizes, live music, art, and a vibrant festival atmosphere.
The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance identified a need for a bikedirt jump park in 2019. VVMTA Executive Director Ernest Saeger says the park is meant for anyone and everyone to practice progressing their skills on a bike. The park is free and open to the public daily from sunrise to sunset, weather depending, from late May to late October/early November.
“It has been a dream to bring something like this to the bike park through the GoPro Mountain Games. It’s a big reason it was built – we wanted to bring this style of race to it,” VVMTA Executive Director Ernest Saeger said.
For the Straits, this summer will be their first time attending the GoPro Mountain Games.
“It’s pretty cool to have Rachel and Kyle involved. With their experience, they’re going to make sure this race is top-notch for everyone,” Mountain Games Director of Operations Peggy Wolfe said.
The GoPro Mountain Games do indeed celebrate the mountain lifestyle we all love – including dual slalom bike races.
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