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2023 GoPro Mountain Games


Cover photo: Finals. Photo cred: Dane Jackson

The GoPro Mountain Games is my favorite event to compete in and are one of the country’s most celebrated outdoor events, featuring adventure sports, music, and art. From June 8th to June 11th, 2023, athletes and spectators from all over the world headed to Vail, Colorado’s mountains, trails, and rivers to compete in and watch tons of different events like whitewater kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, and many more.

This was my first time competing at the event since Covid and it was incredible. All the vendors were set up and giving away free stuff all day every day, live music, tons more people in the village milling around checking out all the activities and being spectators, and a great turnout with ton more competitors across the board but for freestyle: There were 13 senior men, 8 senior women, 10 junior men, and 5 junior women.

Emily finals. Photo cred: @Peterholecombe

The feature was way better than it was the last time I competed here. This year we did not need to put the boards in to make the feature better. Clay keeps adjusting the bladders to make the feature better. I barely hit bottom this year as last time I constantly hit bottom. There was more snow melt and water this year and the water was fricken freezing at 39 degrees…maybe the coldest I’ve ever felt making it hard to have longer sessions as always running back to the hotel to hop in the hot tub. The feature is still one of the hardest features for me to get in a rhythm and put together ride plans, however, I am stoked I added mcnasties into my rides.

Emily loop semi-finals

I trained really hard for this event both on and off the water. I was in the water as much as I could and then doing 5 miles of hill sprints to adjust to the altitude, although I may have some immunity since I went to the University of Colorado for graduate school. All the hard work in the gym, running, and training paid off as I finished 4th place in this event for the second time. I am pretty stoked that I made the finals and finished 4th on my own merits hanging with a large field of women that are the best in the world versus Covid year it was by default. Not all my rides were ideal but I did what I had to to get through each round. Unfortunately, I was 33 points off from 3rd place. During finals, I didn’t score my mcnasties because they shanked off to the side and if I had scored them it would have been a different outcome. Still stoked about 4th.

Emily waving it off on a great last ride

I enjoyed this competition post pandemic. It allowed me to hang with friends and be together without restrictions. My all-time favorite event is the dog big air event and Pepi’s run, however, there is so much to see here at GoPro mountain games. This year I also enjoyed making laps to get free swag. I also picked up a couple of sponsors, DripDrop is the main one. Their products are amazing. They keep me hydrated all the time. Check them out. They have been incredible making me a part of their family and reaching out to me during this difficult time I am having with my appendix burst complications. I am already looking forward to next year! This event is incredible and I highly recommend checking it out.

Catch you on the river!