Meet the women of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge |

Meet the women of the Ultimate Mountain Challenge

Shauna Farnell
Special to the Daily

The Ultimate Mountain Challenge at the GoPro Mountain Games will have some seriously impressive ladies when it gets underway Thursday over in the Vail Valley. The event includes six events over four days and the format is new this year, causing some excitement amongst athletes. The Ultimate Mountain Challenge will crown one male and one female champion at the end of the Mountain Games.

Here’s a look at some of the ladies competing in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge this year:


Hailing from the Vail Valley and Denver respectively, Caitlyn and Ruth are two “average joes” passionate about mountain sports. Caitlyn competed in the Ultimate Mountain Challenge last year on a whim, and Ruth is excited to join up and battle it out for “maybe not last.” Both are stoked to compete, and are moderately confident they can operate a raft.


Insta: @emilyjacksonkayak

Emily Jackson is a world-champion kayaker and part of the legendary Jackson kayak family. She and her husband, world-champion paddler Nick Troutman, have two children, and although they are based out of Rock Island, Tenn., they travel all around the world with their family kayaking and competing. Emily has completed a marathon and a century ride with her mother in the same month, and said she’s looking forward to having fun, maybe even wearing a costume at times, as she takes on the 2019 GMC Ultimate Mountain Challenge.


Insta: @retasups

Laureta Boychuk aka “Reta SUPS” is a river Stand Up Paddler from Nelson BC Canada on the @badfishsup team, and says she plans to, “bring a wave of stoke from Canada like you have never seen!” It is her third time at the Go Pro Mountain Games in Vail and second time in the GMC Ultimate Mountain Challenge. Reta will be putting her legendary energy to use as she competes alongside her @womenwildandfree team member Rena in the R2, Raft Cross and Short Track relay. The duo hope to gain awareness of their 570km Wild and Free river expedition and first SUP decent.


Insta: @womenwildandfree

Rena Dehne is a whitewater paddler, adventurer and lover of all things nature. She resides in both Ontario and Alberta, Canada, and this will be her first time at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail. She says she looks forward to challenging her limits and having a blast as she competes alongside her @womenwildandfree team-member “Reta” Boychuck while they gain awareness for their 570km Wild and Free river expedition.


Insta: @wcourtneykerin

Courtney Kerin is a world class whitewater athlete who hails from a sheep farm in New Zealand. Her adventurous spirit has led her around the world, including to the GoPro Mountain Games where she competes as a kayaker and also as a GMC Ultimate Mountain Challenge athlete. Courtney was second the past two years in the UMC.


Cait Boyd is a lifelong Vail local who first made her name as a member of the U.S. Development Ski Team and an NCAA All-American Alpine skier at University of Vermont. Cait is a perennial participant on the local biking, running, and snowshoe race series’, and will be competing in the UMC for the first time since 2012.


Insta: @balancing_adriene

The returning GMC Ultimate Mountain Challenge champ from last year, Adriene Levknecht is always up for any adventure. As a kayaker, mountain biker, surfer, cancer advocate and paramedic, Adriene keeps her mind at ease by just being outside. She’s super stoked for the upcoming GMC Ultimate Mountain Challenge and is feeling stronger than ever.


Insta: @gmney

Gretchen is the 2016-17 GMC Ultimate Mountain Challenge champion and has been racing since 1995 in both mountain biking and multi-sport events. She holds four national mountain biking titles and won the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in 2007. She is an Ambassador/Athlete for Team Tokyo Joes and owns a small CPA practice in Avon. Gretchen says she is both proud and lucky be a Vail resident of 24 years.

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