Can you conquer Beaver Creek’s mogul minefield? |

Can you conquer Beaver Creek’s mogul minefield?

Kristen Anderson/Vail DailyA skier cruises down Bald Eagle, a double diamond run, Thursday at Beaver Creek.

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado ” Every bump is different, Ross Taylor said.

There are round bumps. There are sharp bumps. There are tight bumps, and there are spaced bumps. Steep and not-so-steep.

You never know what you’re going to get, and that’s what Taylor likes.

“It’s an added challenge,” said Taylor, a Beaver Creek ski instructor. “For me, personally, bumps give me an adrenaline rush.”

On Saturday, skiers can try to ski 13 of the hardest bump runs at Beaver Creek as part of the Talons Challenge. If you ski all the runs, you get a hat, a lanyard, a bratwurst and a beer or soda.

The runs, either black diamonds or double-black diamonds, are on Grouse Mountain, in Larkspur Bowl and off of the Birds of Prey lift ” 23,722 vertical feet in all.

There’s a bit of strategy involved in tackling the 13 runs, Taylor said.

“It’s doable,” Taylor said. “You just have to pace yourself.”

He’s seen skiers do it in three hours, but most take longer ” like a full day or several days.

You probably shouldn’t try to ski the hardest runs back to back. Peregrine and Bald Eagle are some of the tougher runs ” long, steep and full of big moguls. Those runs don’t get groomed, and the bumps grow all season long.

On the other hand, Raven Ridge is a mellow pitch and Lupine is pretty short, and those can be a good breaks between the hard ones. Some of the runs, such as Golden Eagle ” the World Cup downhill course ” get groomed from time to time, so the moguls don’t get too big.

Showing off the Talons Challenge terrain Thursday, Taylor ” a cheery Australian who migrates with winter between hemispheres and skis about 200 days a year ” headed to Raven Ridge first.

It wasn’t too steep, and had some tiny, baby bumps. There were some spots of fresh snow here and there. Taylor carved quickly down the trail.

Then he headed for the Birds of Prey lift, which rises over the long Peregrine trail. It is a true bump run.

“A minefield of bumps everywhere,” Taylor said.

It’s balance that’s most critical when skiing the bumps, Taylor said. Try to keep your upper body still, he said.

“You’ll be pushed back, pushed forward,” he said. “Use your legs like the suspension of a car.”

As skiers get more and more comfortable in the bumps, they can start skiing straighter down the fall line, Taylor said.

“It’s all about mileage,” he said.

And Beaver Creek is a good place to get that mileage. Three high-speed quads serve the 13 trails of the Talons Challenge, so you won’t spend too much time on chairs.

Taylor heads back to Grouse for a run on Falcon Park, where bumps range from

medium-sized to compact-car-sized.

After that, it was time for a bit of a breather on Lupine, a short pitch of moguls in Larkspur Bowl.

The Talons Challenge is a good chance to show off some of the more wild terrain at Beaver Creek, well known for its luxurious escalators and pristine groomers, Taylor said.

“It’s all about getting people onto the black terrain and highlighting what Beaver Creek has to offer,” he said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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