New Talons takes shape at Beaver Creek

Melanie Wong
Construction continues on the new Talons Restaurant Thursday at Redtail in preparation for their opening this November when Beaver Creek opens for the ski season.
Dominique Taylor | |

BEAVER CREEK — This winter, skiers and riders cruising down from Grouse Mountain, Larkspur Bowl or Red Tail will be greeted at the bottom by a new lodge and restaurant.

Construction crews have been busy working on Talons, a new 17,000 square foot, 750-person capacity restaurant, bar and deck, that will take the place of Red Tail Camp at Beaver Creek. Twice as big as its predecessor, Talons will feature gourmet – but still no-frills – on-mountain dining, a large, stone deck to soak in rays on spring days, and plenty of room as headquarters of the 2013 Birds of Prey World Cup events as well as the 2015 FIS Alpine Ski World Championships.

Work began on the site even before last ski season ended and went on through the summer. Right now the restaurant is abuzz with the sound of drills, hammers and heavy machinery, but in just two months, that will be traded for the sound of ski boots clunking, forks and knives clanging, and chatter as chilled skiers and riders settle into the warm lodge.

Talons opens to the public on Nov. 28, following the mountain’s opening day, and will promptly be inhabited by media covering the Birds of Prey World Cup races for the following two weeks. Following the races, the restaurant will close for a few days to a week before re-opening to the public, said Jen Brown of Beaver Creek.

Designers hope that the building, while much larger than Red Tail Camp, will retain a cozy feel as a resort “outpost.” Talons maintains a rustic look, with distressed wood mimicking an old barn building on the outside, and high ceilings displaying exposed rafters on the inside, paying homage to the area’s farming roots.

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“Everybody loves the old (Red Tail), so we tried to keep the feel of the old place, but on snowy days, this will be a very cozy place to hang out,” said Beaver Creek Mountain Dining Director Eric Pottorff.

It’s still cafeteria dining, but with an upscale touch — in keeping with Red Tail’s outdoor barbecue station, Talons will have a “smokehouse” on the deck, with fresh smoked meats cut to order, salads tossed before your eyes and an open kitchen where you can see fresh ingredients being prepared — no frozen corndogs here.

Newly named Talons General Manager Chris Darrohn and the head chef from Broken Arrow in Arrowhead will be crafting the menus at Talons. The European-inspired menu will feature gourmet dining options such as the Talons Kasseler Rippchen Casserole (shaved smoked pork loin, sauerkraut, home fries, baked apples) and Colorado lamb burger, homemade soups, rustic thin pizzas and artisan breads served in an upscale cafeteria setting. There will be an indoor/outdoor bar, named The Brink after the Birds of Prey jump.

In the summer, and in evenings, Talons will provide a venue for live music, apre and special events. In fact, Pottorff said two weddings are already booked for next summer.

Aside from serving as the press center for major ski events, resort officials said a nice on-mountain dining option is much needed for Beaver Creek. Talons, especially, sits at the crossroads of three lifts and several major runs.

“The hope is to divert some of the traffic from Spruce Saddle,” said Brown, referring to the mid-mountain cafeteria and lodge.

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