By BEN MCCARTY
Gorge News Report
It's official: The Gorge Games are back.
The organizers of the 2008 reincarnation of the popular competition made announcements in Portland and Hood River last Thursday to showcase the events and venues for the summer games.
"It has been such a pleasure to get such a good start in Hood River," games co-founder Allan Peters said.
The summer Gorge Games will be July 17-20 in Hood River, Cascade Locks and The Dalles while the winter Gorge Games will be held in February 2009.
Events at the summer games include windsurfing, kayaking, mountain biking, sailing, adventure racing, river boarding and a marathon.
All the competitions are either carryovers from the previous version of the games or new ones that fit right in with the area's reputation as a haven for action sports.
New events include river boarding, essentially kayaking courses done on a large body board. The sport is relatively new, and according to event co-coordinator Josh Galt it is akin to a kayak race already having the kayakers fall out of their boats when the race starts.
"It is for people who like waterfalls and rapids and want to do it all headfirst," he said.
Regardless of their sport, the various co-coordinators are just happy to have a chance to display their sport in front of a Gorge Games audience again.
"I've been part of Gorge Games since its inception and I am so stoked that it is back," windsurfing co-coordinator Darren Rogers said.
The announcement also gave organizers a chance to go into more detail on activities surrounding the games.
There will be an "Adventure Village" at the event site during the games, where children will have the opportunity to learn about the various sports as well as the environment in the Gorge.
"Instead of watching on TV or on a video game they are actually going to be trying these sports," co-founder Josh Ryan said of the opportunities that children will have in the village.
The event will also feature plenty of chances for older fans to get involved. There will be a 21-and-over adventure race through downtown Hood River on July 17 and a street party for all-ages July 18.
In addition to bringing back the Games to the Gorge, the event is also bringing with it a message of sustainability.
According to Suzanne Wright, the event's environmental manager, all of the power for the event supplied by Pacific Power will be wind-generated, and biodegradable eating utensils will be used during the games.
Now that the plan is coming to fruition, all that remains is finding a way to keep everything running through the end of July, and with all the help they have received so far, the pair thinks they are up to the task.