Foresta and Johnson win inaugural dual slalom event
Joey Foresta and Dani Johnson were crowned champions of the pro men and pro women, respectively at Wednesday’s inaugural GoPro Dual Slalom event at the Minturn Bike Park.
The two-run qualifying rounds were Tuesday, with the best cumulative times used to seed riders for Wednesday’s tournament style knock-out format. Foresta (South Jordan, Utah) bested the 28-rider field, ultimately taking down Luca Cometti of Capo Beach, California in the final. The top Colorado rider was Collin Hudson, who finished third after defeating Alpine, California’s Kyle Strait in the small final.
Gypsum’s Chris Higgerson advanced to the 1/8 final, the farthest of any local in the men’s pro.
Johnson, who hails from San Diego, California, defeated Teagan Heap (Boulder City, Nevada) in the pro women’s final. Hailee Rustad and Dana Williams of Eagle and Celia Ferguson of Avon were the furthest advancing locals, getting bounced in the 1/8 final.
The event also featured amateur open, beginner, expert and sport divisions, where 43 athletes, many of whom were Vail Valley locals, raced down the Straight Acres designed course. The dual slalom venue will remain at the Minturn Bike Park after the Mountain Games as well.
Carr and King win Yeti Catch Wars
Justin Carr and Rick King took home the $1,000 prize for winning the Yeti Catch Wars competition on Thursday, the first fishing event at the GoPro Mountain Games.
Carr and King reeled in 23 fish total, notching a boat total score of 520 points to defeat the team of Chad Sperry and Patrick Duke (470) and Kirk Lewis and Joseph Schwonke (460). Twelve teams contested the event.
Scoring was a combination of the number of trout caught and the length of three measured fish. While every fish caught scored 10 points, 10 bonus points per inch greater than the 12″ minimum was also awarded. The teams of Troy Garner and Jeff Ellis and Jesse Haller and Charlie Schmidt each nabbed 17 fish, the second-most in terms of total caught.
Climbing returns to Mountain Games
The return of climbing competitions to the Mountain Games kicked off Thursday with the GoPro Youth Climbing event. The bouldering competition, which concludes on Sunday, featured categories for Junior (2003-2004 year of birth) and Youth A-D (2005 and younger).
The classic redpoint format had a variety of routes set, each with different levels of difficulty. Athletes could attempt all of the boulder problems at any time during the three-hour time frame, earning points based on difficulty. The top five scores on each athlete’s scorecard were counted for the final rankings.
The North American Cup Series events got underway Friday and will conclude on Saturday.
“We are very happy with the success of the inaugural North American Cup Series in 2021 and thrilled to once again partner with our friends at Climbing Escalade Canada to develop the next generation of climbers,” Marc Norman, CEO of USA Climbing, told Vail Valley Foundation’s Ross Leonhart in advance of the Mountain Games. The series, which features three disciplines (bouldering, lead and speed) makes five stops outside of the World Cup circuit, allowing elite athletes to compete in Virginia, British Columbia, Montreal, Arizona and Vail. The Vail stop has more registrants than any other stop, as of this writing.
“It’s intended to harvest the talent that’s out there that might not be recognized,” Moore told Shauna Farnell of the North American Cup.
“This is the way for adults to hit the stage and make a name for themselves. … Since climbing has made it to the Olympics, [USA Climbing] is trying to find other ways to find talent,” Moore continued.
“The North America Cup is a step below the World Cup, but it was born out of the desire to feed more talent onto the track for the Olympic team. That’s kind of the idea. … Who’s out there that we don’t know about? Who are the dark horses?”
The Celsius Citizen Climbing Competition, which is open to recreational, masters and paraclimbing athletes, is Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Dog days continue
Patrick Walker of Longmont blitzed the Rocky Dog 5k course, running a time of 17 minutes, 45.8 seconds to win the event with the help of his pup, Ruby. Locals Drew Warkentin and Tulo (19:39.4) and Michael Dorr and Smokey (20:59) rounded out the podium.
The women’s open was a bit closer, with 57-year-old Christiine Eidmann and Seppi (24:26.8) taking a 31-second win over Vail’s Marina Hand and Heehaw. Cynthia Edgerton and Appolo, also of Vail, came in third place (25:32.2).
GMC Kayak Freestyle event heats up
Dane Jackson posted a monster first run, scoring 1,446.67 points — the second highest score was Nick Troutman’s 1,110.00 — in Thursday’s preliminaries to safely put him in the lead after the first day of the GMC Kayak Freestyle, one of the Mountain Games’ fan favorites. In Friday’s semi-final, Jackson was the top performing of the five finalists moving on to Saturday’s final, posting a score of 1,430.00. Stephen Wright, Seth Chappelle, Nick Troutman and Hunter Katich moved on as well.
Emily Jackson (1,273.33) and Olivia McGinnis (1,151.67) were the class of the women’s field on both days. The 19-year-old McGinnis, who has two freestyle world championship medals (bronze from 2017 and a silver from 2019) had the top single run in the prelims, scoring 745 in her first try. In Friday’s semifinals, Jackson’s 475.00 second run held the top spot, with McGinnis’s 463.33 coming in second. Katie Frankhouser, Cat Hadman and Rachel Scheffe also advanced.
Finals are just below the International Bridge on Saturday at 4 p.m.