Event set for Saturday
The slogan for Colorado’s Beaver Creek Resort may be “Not exactly roughing it,” but the Talons Challenge on Saturday will not be for dilettantes more interested in the resort’s complimentary cookie time.
For the seventh year, the Talons Challenge awaits advanced skiers and snowboarders willing to take on 23,722 vertical feet of black and double-black diamond terrain. The 1,500 participants in the sold-out event must complete 13 runs located around the World Cup Birds of Prey downhill course, Grouse Mountain, and near Larkspur Bowl.
Despite Beaver Creek’s posh image, the advanced terrain is legitimate. Although the Birds of Prey downhill course is not particularly technical from a recreational skiing standpoint, it is definitely steep enough to marvel at the World Cup skiers who point their skis straight down it each year. Grouse Mountain offers some of the state’s best sustained, fall-line bump skiing. The three runs near Larkspur Bowl are the least demanding tests in the Talons Challenge in that they are rather short.
The Grouse Mountain Express chairlift accesses seven of the 13
runs in the Talons Challenge at Beaver Creek Resort.
Photo: Eric Wagnon
Click here for more on Grouse Mountain
Participants vie for hat, Wall-of-Fame
Event officials at the three lifts serving the areas punch off completed runs on each participant’s credential. For the $10 registration fee, each skier or snowboarder receives a bratwurst and Bud Light or drink at Red Tail Camp for lunch. Successful finishers earn a custom hat and a spot in the list of names on the Talons Wall-of-Fame, a digital kiosk located inside Red Tail Camp.
A portion of proceeds from the event are donated to SOS Outreach, a charity providing 4,500 kids with an adventure-based development curriculum. The day finishes with the Talons Apres Party at Red Tail Camp, featuring raffle prizes from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Limited to 1,500 participants, the popular event filled up last weekend, compared to the Wednesday prior to the event last year. For those missing the Talons Challenge day, the Beaver Creek Ski and Snowboard School does offer the opportunity to take the challenge with an instructor any day of the season.
Forecast predicts new snow
Those taking the Talons Challenge should have fresh snow to soften the bumps. The National Weather Service predicts up to 10 inches of fresh snow on Thursday and Friday with the snowfall likely to continue on the day of the event.
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