Posted by: Tom Boyd
Vail, Colo., May 29, 2019 — Officials at the non-profit Vail Valley Foundation, which organizes the GoPro Mountain Games, have made adjustments to the TIAA Bank XC Mountain Bike course and the Casio Pro Trek Smart 10K Spring Runoff due high snowpack still remaining on Vail Mountain ahead of the 2019 event in Vail this June 6-9.
“We love snow – it’s good for our mountains and our rivers, and it’s beautiful to see the snow capping our Gore Range at the head of our valley,” said the Vail Valley Foundation’s Dave Dressman, Event Director for the GoPro Mountain Games. “When it comes to competing, there is simply too much snow and meltwater remaining on some of our traditional courses, so we are activating our alternate courses.”
Both courses now hold to lower elevations on Vail Mountain, and organizers are confident the events will still be held, and still contain significant vertical. Other run and bike courses are not expected to be affected.
However, event officials are not releasing full course maps until closer to the event in order to discourage pre-riding/running of the courses. All trails on Vail Mountain are currently closed as organizers work to minimize erosion. Organizers stressed that athletes caught riding or running on a close portion of the course anytime between now and the event will be disqualified.
Warm weather is anticipated to fill the valley beginning in early June. However, at higher elevations, several feet of snow are expected to remain un-melted during the event, creating areas of meltwater in mid-elevations.
“In our current conditions, Vail Mountain’s trails are exceptionally sensitive to erosion,” Dressman said. “We are operating on Forest Service land, and it’s part of our obligation to do what we can to take care of the sensitive natural environment where we are fortunate enough to host our races each year.”
Snowpack in the Rockies is about 190 percent of normal according to the National Weather Service. Spring storms have brought more precipitation to the area in recent weeks, but long-range forecasts call for more sun and summer conditions in and around the event window. Even with warm weather in coming weeks, organizers expect snow or meltwater to impede the higher-elevation portions of the running and biking trails on Vail Mountain when the GoPro Mountain Games get under way June 6-9.
If the weather heats up significantly, it could also bring high water to the event’s Gore Creek, Eagle River, and Homestake Creek competition venues.
“We’ll also be keeping tabs on water levels on the Eagle River, Homestake Creek and Gore Creek to make sure we’re running at appropriate levels when it comes time to race, but it’s too early to tell how weather will affect those events,” Dressman said.
The Vail Valley Foundation also noted that current course maps are subject to change. The VVF will continue to communicate course conditions and any other updates by email, social media, and via their website.
“It’s part of the process of running an event in a natural setting that we make adjustments,” said the Vail Valley Foundation’s Tom Boyd, spokesman for the GoPro Mountain Games. “But when June rolls around, the sun typically comes out, our trails firm up, and we welcome tens of thousands of people to town to help us celebrate everything we love about mountain living.”
The GoPro Mountain Games are the world’s largest celebration of mountain sports and culture. They are set to take place June 6-9 in Vail, Colorado. Learn more about the 2019 GoPro Mountain Games at www.summer.mountaingames.com.
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