Some of the finest whitewater kayakers in the world are convening in Vail, Colo., this week for the second-annual Teva Mountain Games.
Among them is Hood River-based paddler Dan Gavere, who has called the Gorge home for the past year-and-a-half.
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, Gavere has been kayaking for 18 years, and has been a mainstay on the U.S. National Team over the past decade, most recently qualifying in 2001.
Gavere, 34, is known as a “recreational renaissance man,” who has developed skills in a variety of outdoor sports. He relocated from North Carolina to Hood River in 2001 so that he could paddle, kiteboard and mountain bike every day.
He carries with him a reputation as one of the original professional freestyle kayakers, and has paddled some of the fiercest rapids in the world, including the Verzasca River in Switzerland and the Futa River in Chile.
Gavere has also pitted himself against some of the sport’s fiercest competitors, including Eric Jackson, Brad Ludden and Scott Shipley — all of whom are participating in the Teva Mountain Games, which began Wednesday and run through Sunday.
Many of the top freestyle kayakers in the world are competing in a series of events, highlighted by the Teva Pro Rodeo, the “8-ball” Sprint, the Kayak/Raft PaddleCross and the Extreme Creek Race.
The Teva Mountain Games have been compared by many to the Gorge Games — Hood River’s annual sports-and-lifestyle festival that will not run this year due to a lack of title sponsorship.
The primary difference is that the Mountain Games concentrate on mountain-based sports such as kayaking, rafting, mountain biking, climbing and trail running.
In addition to the athletic events, the Mountain Games also feature a mountain photography competition, an interactive exhibition, a demo area, live music and mountain lifestyle parties.
The combined cash purse for all the events is $50,000, and a special will be aired on Fox Sports later this summer. For more, visit www.tevamountaingames.com.