Beaver Creek Talons Challenge

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If you’re a skier or boarder and you like pushing your body and legs to the limit, Beaver Creek’s Talons Challenge is a must.   For those of you not familiar with Talons Challenge, it is a packed day of skiing or snowboarding a total of 14 combined black and double black diamond bump runs.  And while skiing or snowboarding a few bump runs in a day is normal for most people in a full day of skiing, 14 bump runs may be a little extreme for some.

This past weekend, my wife and I set out to do the Talons Challenge on Saturday March 2nd 2013.  To give you a little background, neither my wife nor I are good at skiing bumps.  We never received any instructions except for a pointer here and there and our form definitely shows it.  So when we received an invitation to do the BC Talons Challenge,  we were all for it.

The Talons Challenge consist of the following runs at Beaver Creek

♦♦ Goshawk
♦♦ Peregrine
♦♦ Golden Eagle
♦   Kestrel
♦   Lupine
♦   Shooting Star
♦   Loco
♦   Screech Owl
♦   Raven Ridge
♦   Ptarmigan
♦   Ruffed Grouse
♦♦ Bald Eagel
♦♦ Falcon Park
♦♦ Osprey

This totals out to be 8 black diamonds and 6 double black diamonds.

The day was a perfect day for skiing and a perfect day for the event.  The skies were sunny and the high was 40 F which created a great spring like ski day.  After checking in and getting our Talons Challenge punch card, we hopped onto the chair lifts to start our adventure around 9 am.  Since it was still somewhat early, the runs were nice and uncrowded for the first hour.  And while crowded runs aren’t any fun, there were only a couple runs that we did where a run seemed crowded throughout the day.  The rest of the challenge, we had plenty of room.  Given the fact that these runs are black and double black diamond bumps, there aren’t many people that ski these runs on a typical day.  The typical Beaver Creek goer loves their blue and green groomed runs, so if you are comfortable skiing un-groomed and more advanced runs, you typically have uncrowded runs.  If it’s a powder day, all bets are off as most people are chasing fresh tracks, including myself!

About half way through the challenge, we both started to feel our legs starting to get a little tired, but we pushed on.  Depending on how good of ski shape your legs are in, your legs may or may not get tired.  Both of our legs are in decent ski shape, so if you’re a once or twice a year skier, you will start to fatigue earlier.  If you’re skiing twice a week, you should be fine.  We’re typically 1-2 times a week skiers.  And while we are both in relatively good ski shape, our legs were both jello by the last few runs and we were ready for our beer and brat that comes with the entry to Talons Challenge.  For total time it took us to complete the Talons Challenge, I finished at 12:30 pm and my wife finished at 1 pm which is about 3:30-4 hours of skiing and riding the lifts.  We did end up skiing a few more runs for the day, but after the challenge, your legs are pretty tired.

During the event, there were sponsor tents set up and they were giving away plenty of gear and swag.  The sponsors included Smartwool, GoPro, Helly Hansen, and Red Bull.  The event was also MC’ed which added a lot of life and made it an event instead of a day  of skiing 14 bump runs.  There was also a live band at the restaurant/bar at the base where all the lifts converged which also added to the liveliness of the event.

As for who this event is right for, I saw skiers, snowboarders, and even mono boarders.  The ages ranged from 5 year old’s to 75 year old’s with the average age being around 30-45.  If you plan on bringing your kid up to do the event, I suggest them being more advanced for their age.  I think you would have a tired crying kid by the 3rd or 4th run if they only ski once or twice a year.  This goes for the adults too!

After skiing the Beaver Creek Talons Challenge, we stayed at the base of the mountain in the Highlands Lodge.  This topped off the day for us as it was a super nice mountain lodge with ski in and ski out access.  We stayed in a one bedroom suite with a full kitchen and fireplace included which was great to come back to after a long day of skiing.  Oh, and did I mentioned it has 2 sweet outdoor hot tubs and a lap pool?!  Hot tubs and skiing go hand in hand for me somehow.

Overall, an amazing weekend experience and I highly suggest the Beaver Creek Talons Challenge and checking out the Highlands Lodge

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