The Teva Mountain Games in Vail have lost their title sponsor for the winter and appear to be moving forward without the shoe brand for their popular summer event.
Born in Vail Valley in 2002, the summer Teva Mountain Games have grown into an international showcase of adventure sports such as kayaking, rock climbing and mountain biking, drawing 3,000 athletes and more than 40,000 spectators.
The Vail Valley Foundation, which acquired the Teva Mountain Games from founder and now Teva president Joel Heath in 2008, announced Monday that the Winter Mountain Games are returning in February with a dozen winter sports and concerts. Absent from the announcement was the name "Teva." The new website address for the summer and winter events — mountaingames.com — is suddenly Teva-free too.
"The approach for us was to put more effort in supporting our athletes on our brand in 2013," said Teva spokeswoman Jaime Eschette, discussing only Teva's athlete-focused decision to remove itself from title sponsorship of the Winter Games.
While not openly discussed, Teva is out for summer, too, according to sources familiar with the Games.
Vail Valley Foundation vice president John Dakin declined to talk about Teva's departure as title sponsor of the Summer Mountain Games.
He said the foundation is working to secure a title sponsor for the Winter Games, scheduled Feb. 8-10 at Vail's Golden Peak. Summer news is pending, he said.
"We do not have a final resolution as it relates to summer, but we are very hopeful we will have something to share in the future," said Dakin, noting that Eddie Bauer remains a presenting sponsor. "I'd rather not say anything more at this point. I don't want to compromise an ongoing process."
Heath started the Jeep Whitewater Festival in Vail in 1996, spawning what would become the Teva Mountain Games in 2002 and forging a new model for high-country festivals, with an easy mingling of adventure sports, mountain lifestyle, film and music.
"Obviously, it's a very dear event for all of us at Teva," Heath said. "With the Winter Mountain Games, we are looking at a different strategy going forward, and the event business is a lot different than it was 10 years ago."
Heath declined to discuss Teva's departure from the Summer Games, citing ongoing negotiations.
"For everybody involved, we want to make sure we can work through a scenario where the event can stay around," he said.
The second Winter Mountain Games will feature a dozen winter sports — including big-air telemark and the country's largest ski mountaineering race — and free concerts by the Flobots, John Brown's Body, and Ana Sia and Kraddy.
Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/jasontblevins