What: Teva Mountain Games
When: Today through Sunday
Where: Vail, Colo.
More info: tevamountaingames.com
For weeks, crews have been fanned out on the trails and paths above Vail with shovels and snow blowers to prepare for the Teva Mountain Games this weekend, said Ian Anderson, spokesman for the Game.
The trails for the cross-country mountain bike race and trail run are clear of all of late-season snow. So is the path that heads up to Vail Pass, which serves as the course for the road bike time trial and the half-marathon runners.
However, it is lined by snow banks right now.
"This is not the first time they've had to do that," Anderson said of the shoveling and snow-blowing operations. "The Vail Mountain crew is well versed in preparing the mountain for these early season events."
Boulder athletes heading to the Games -- which includes competitions and expos in a range of mountain activities and sports, from fly fishing to climbing, mountain photography and film and even competitions for dogs -- are preparing for mud instead of snow.
Kim Godfrey, of Louisville, said she's heading up to the Games for the first time to compete in the mountain bike races, and she's ready for mud.
"I've heard they've been shoveling off the course so it's snow free," Godfrey said. "That doesn't mean it's mud-free.
"I'll have a set of mud tires on the side just in case I need to throw them on."
Forrest Noble said he's heading up to Vail from Boulder for his fifth Games, though he doesn't compete. He started going to the Games to catch up with kayaking friends.
"I get to reconnect with all of my kayaking buddies who are all over the world on these kayaking expeditions," Noble said. "But, they have to show up for these sponsored events.
"It's cool to be able to go for one weekend to see everybody."
Now, Noble also goes for his kids. Stella, 9, will be in the climbing competition for the third time this weekend; last year she took second place in her age group, which included kids up to 11 years old.
"I think her biggest competitors are going to be her teammates," (on Boulder's Team ABC at this year's Games) he said.
His son Ryder, 8, will compete for the first time this year.
One of the great things about going to the Teva Mountain Games is seeing all of the other sports, said pro mountain biker Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, of Boulder.
He'll be heading to Vail this weekend to defend his title; he won the cross-country race at both the 2009 and 2010 games.
"We don't usually get to mingle with and see the rest of the scene, whether it's kayaking or climbing," Horgan-Kobelski said.
But last year, he and his wife, Heather Irmiger, also a pro cyclist, wandered around and checked out all the other sports, he said, and they loved it.
Irmiger planned to race this weekend, too, but Horgan-Kobelski said his wife might be a scratch because of recent injuries at two races -- one in United Kingdom a couple of weeks ago, then a week later, at a race in Germany.
Horgan-Kobelski said he hopes for a three-peat this weekend, but said, "We'll see."
"I flew back from Europe yesterday, and going right up to altitude -- usually you feel pretty good, but you never know."