And they're off!
The inaugural Winter Teva Mountain Games began this year in Vail, Colo.
The games attracted some of the world's best athletes to Vail as a cadre of Olympians, national champions and young phenoms lined up to compete in nordic skiing (pictured above) and mixed climbing events on day one of the three-day festival, which began on Feb. 10.
Olympic skiers Leif Zimmerman and Rebecca Dussault won the men's and women's 10K nordic freestyle race respectively.
The opening day of the games also featured the mixed climbing competition.
The mixed climbing competition pitted a select group of elite athletes against each other in side by side mirror-imaged routes on a unique climbing structure custom designed for the Winter Teva Mountain Games. It's the ultimate test of speed, power and agility.
The event featured 20 of the world's top mixed climbers. Sam Elias (Boulder, Colo.) beat Stanislav Vrba (Frisco, Colo.) in a final head-to-head race on the wall to claim overall victory.
Dawn Glanc (Ouray, Colo.) bested Emily Harringtion (Boulder, Colo.) to win the women's competition.
On day two, the big air competition included an impressive array of tricks from the country's best free-heelers. Local skier Christopher Ewart (Avon, Colo.) won the event with a huge double front flip. Jeremy Clark and Kjell Ellefson were second and third.
Best Biker Trick
Day two heated up at night with as telemark skiers and freeride mountain bikers jumped side-by-side, on the snow and under the lights in a one-of-a-kind big air contest.
The best trick competition featured 10 of the world's best freeride mountain bikers, hitting the country's biggest bike snow jump, throwing flips and tricks for a massive crowd at the Golden Peak base area. Chad Kagy (State College, Pa.) threw a backflip tailwhip off the jump to claim overall victory. Mike Montgomery and Sam Pilgrim finished second and third respectively.
The games weren't all about high flying acrobatics. On Feb. 11, races ditched their skis and races thru the snow in their ski boots.
Without the encumbrance of skis, boot-clad runners navigated a minefield of obstacles, including ice, hay bales, tires and a backwards march in this awkward dash for unmitigated glory.
A skier shows off his skills during the big air competition. Athletes competed in a dozen sports for their chance to win $60,000 in prize money. The games wrapped up on Feb. 13.