There's nothing like sun, skiing and Spring-like conditions, especially when you're experiencing the Talons Challenge at Beaver Creek . We lucked out with a warm day--sure beat that subzero morning I was skiing in Park City in January --when we took to the 13 toughest runs at Beaver Creek to earn our Platinum pin and find our names among other Challenge finishers next time we're at the resort.
The challenge happens as a one-day event in January each year--mark your calendars for Jan. 23, 2010--with registrations limited to roughly 1,500 skiers and boarders. Or if you can't make it on that day, you can ski with an instructor to have the accomplishment certified. You'll take to the infamous World Cup course, Birds of Prey, luckily not logging speed and jumps like Bode Miller and Hermann Maier when they hit the mountain. Then follow it up with bump black runs off the Birds of Prey and Larkspur lifts and on Grouse Mountain. My favorite part is you can take as many breaks as you need, just as long as you can hit all the runs before those lifts close at 3:30. And if you take an extended lunch and shed layers as many times as I did (yep, I forgot how hot I can get skiing the bumps), that 3:30 deadline can start to look like it's not going to happen.
I'd hate to see what the troughs look like on these bumps on Talons Challenge day when thousands are hitting these runs throughout the day. But I'm happy we were hit with soft snow thanks to the sun hitting the mountain just right--with the exception of the slick top on Birds of Prey where I prayed the rest of the day wouldn't be as nerve-wracking as that and the last two runs on Larkspur where the bumps acquired some lumpy, icy chunks. And to say you're sweating, dripping even, while skiing, that's new to me. Posted by Kate