Sure, most of the super-epic GoPro photos you’ve seen on Instagram are taken by professional photographers and athletes at the top of their game — but not all. And the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, is proof that you don’t need to be a pro to take a stunning outdoor shot.

At the annual games, professional and amateur athletes alike gather to recreate and compete in a variety of outdoor games — some serious, some not so much — across the rivers, mountains, and valleys of Vail. Spectators, too, are more than welcome, and the three-day event includes opportunities for art, music, concerts, yoga, and everything you’d expect from a top-level summer festival. Activities for athletes of various levels range from trail runs and timed raft races to rock climbing competitions and uphill mountain bike races.

Sponsored by GoPro and the Vail Valley Foundation, the games are a chance for anyone to learn a new skill, test their current skills, or just get to know other athletes and spectators who appreciate friendly competition in the great outdoors.

Of course, since GoPro is the lead sponsor of the games, you can bet there are usually some epic photos that come out of the competition and 2022 was no exception. In addition to photos taken from athletes, media, and journalists covering the event, the GoPro Mountain Games invites content creators to spend a few days learning about GoPro camera techniques and shooting — all while watching and participating in the various events.

Oh, and if you’re wondering: next year’s games are June 8 – 11, 2023. Better practice your mud run and speed paddling.

gopro mountain games - hanging from trees

Taking a break to hang out in the trees around Vail. Photo: Andrews Santana

gopro mountain games - early balloon

Attempting to get amped up for a morning balloon ride with a 3:30 AM wake-up call. Photo: Susi Vidal

gopro mountain games hot air ballooning

A sunrise hot air balloon mission, captured on a GoPro MAX 360 camera, and an inside look before liftoff. Photos by: GoPro and Nikolai Zychowicz

giant stand up paddleboard

A SUPsquatch (giant stand-up paddleboard) group going down Gore Creek. Photo: Grete Eliassen

gopro mountain games mud

The Nature Valley Mud Run (i.e, the chocolate river from Willy Wonka). Photo: Nick Rowley

gopro mountain games - big air for dogs

A four-legged competitor going for gold at the Orijen DockDogs Outdoor Big Air event, akin to long jump for dogs. Photo: Susi Vidal

go pro games kayaking

No, this photo is not upside down. Professional kayaker Nick Troutman competing in the freestyle kayak event. Photo: Nick Troutman

gopro mountain games - cornholl and hammock

Not all games are super-stressful — nor is the schedule so packed that you can’t find some time for a quick nap. Photos: Andrews Santana and GoPro

Spectators watching the men’s climbing event in Mountain Plaza. Photo: Zach Mahone/Vail Valley Foundation

gopro mountain games gore creek

Braving the rapids of Vail’s Gore Creek. Photo: Susi Vidal

gopro mountain games balloon from above

A unique hot air balloon perspective. Photo: Nikolai Zychowicz

gopro mountain games - running and dogs

Some events are low-key and open to anyone, like the Après 5K Run, while some events have specific requirements — like having to have four feet. Photos: the_adventureaddicts and GoPro

Crowds for days at the Mountain of Music concert night at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. Photo: JohnRyan Lockman/Vail Valley Foundation

Spectators can catch a front-row seat to events like the Pacifico 8 Ball Kayak Sprint event. But experienced athletes can paddle for the gold at events like the TINCUP Steep Creek Championship (in Red Cliff, just outside Vail). Photos: Thata Luz and Nick Troutman