Mention the resort Beaver Creek and most skiers think of heated sidewalks leading to the family ski area, slopeside escalators and free chocolate chip cookies at the end of the day. But, there’s a nasty underbelly to Beaver Creek that rears its head every February: the Talons Challenge.
On Feb. 26, Beaver Creek Resort will host the 8th annual Talons Challenge, showcasing some of the steepest, hairiest and bump-covered runs in the Western United States. Participants with their own bucket list can challenge themselves on 13 runs and 24,000 vertical feet of black-diamond and double-black-diamond runs. While skiing 13 runs of with bumps the size of Volkswagens may seem challenging enough, there is a caveat – you have to complete them all in one day.
At the center piece of the Talons Challenge is the infamous Birds of Prey downhill course – one of the only race courses that rattled downhiller Hermann Maier’s confidence. This is followed by more thigh-busting runs on Grouse Mountain and Larkspur Bowl. If you conquer all 13 runs in a single day, you’ll earn a place on the Talon’s Wall of Fame.
Offered as a fundraiser for the SOS Outreach Society (a charity that provides more than 4,500 underprivileged kids with the opportunity to access snow sports), participants need to register ahead of time. Each year’s event sells out early and is limited to the first 1,500 participants accompanied by a member of the Beaver Creek Snowsports School. For a $10 entry registration fee, each participant receives a bratwurst and a beer (the perfect nutritional supplement for a gut-wrenching athletic event) and a custom hat proclaiming your accomplishment to the rest of the world. The event is followed at the end of the day with the Talons Après Party at Red Tail Camp and a raffle for exciting prizes.
For more information on the Beaver Creek Resort 2011 Talons Challenge, go to their website or call the Beaver Creek Snowsports School at 970-754-5300.