Vail Valley: Three generations tackle Talons challenge |

Vail Valley: Three generations tackle Talons challenge

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily

BEAVER CREEK – Talons Challenge is tough, especially when the bumps are bigger than you are.

Yet this past month, three generations of the Bruce family from Avon completed the challenge, including 4-year-old Stewie and his grandfather, 76-year-old Doug.

Talons Challenge involves skiing 13 black and double black diamond runs on Beaver Creek mountain in a single day.

It’s a daunting endurance test, and Beaver Creek skiing instructor Ian Bruce didn’t expect to finish it with his son, Stewie, when they tackled the challenge on March 7.

“We had no intention of completing it,” he said. “It’s a bit of an uncharted territory, to bring tiny characters like this through such a long challenge.”

Yet before they knew it, Ian and Stewie had finished eight runs before lunch, and they started to suspect they could finish.

“There were only five more to go and we said, ‘Hey maybe we can do this,” Ian said.

After hearing that Stewie had rocked the challenge, his older sister, 5-year-old Tianna, decided to give it a go.

Her first attempt fizzled when, after eight runs, she had to leave to go to a birthday party. Then on March 13, she finished the challenge.

“I felt happy,” she said.

The small Bruces weren’t the only ones to beat the bumps. Their grandfather, visiting from Australia, finished the challenge on March 1 for roughly the 10th time, Bruce said.

The Bruce family is keeping their prizes – their medals, hats and lanyards – in their mudroom. They took a picture of all three generations of the family with their awards, and Ian plans to hang it inside his home.

Ian seemed a bit embarrassed to discover a friend had leaked the Bruces’ Talons Challenge story to the Vail Daily, but he was kind enought to share his story with the paper.

“We talked about it last year, how fun it would be to have three generations do it, but we didn’t expect to be able to do it for another couple of years,” Ian said.

Talons Challenge is the focus of a public event in January, but people can tackle it throughout the ski season under the supervision of a skiing instructor.

It could become a yearly thing for the Bruce clan.

“I think it’s a great annual tradition,” Ian said.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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