Ford presides in Beaver Creek |

Ford presides in Beaver Creek

Andrew Harley

Optimus Prime, eat your Autobotic heart out because the base of Beaver Creek Mountain has transformed from a ski resort into a carnival of tents and adventure-sport activities, as the inaugural Ford Adventure Sport Challenge has begun.

The Adventure Village boasts a plethora of sponsor tents, featuring prize drawings, free samples and a trivia challenge, a scuba tank, a slackline, two climbing walls, a miniature-golf course, a trampoline/bungee contraption, live music, an Adventure Skills Challenge course and enough premier athletes to fill Liechtenstein.

The burlier climbing wall, a 360-degree, mushroom-shaped wall, is restricted to professional use.

Jim Waugh, who has been working in professional climbing for 20 years and directs the Phoenix Bouldering Competition every year, has invited 30 of the top male and female climbers in the world to compete in this weekend’s climbing events.

“Jim is the only person who’s been able to get the World Cup to be held in the United States,” said head course-setter Chris Block, who has been climbing for 14 years, and is the highest-decorated speed climber and will not be competing in this year’s competitions. “I like the creative process of course-setting. I like to force climbers to do weird, funky maneuvers, which I would like to see if I was competing. Plus, course-setting brings a guaranteed paycheck and a paid vacation.”

The Adventure Village plays host to the Ford Trivia Challenge throughout the course of the weekend. The winner of the trivia challenge will receive a two-year lease on a new Ford Explorer.

The Adventure Skills Challenge offers a dynamic, physical test in the form of an obstacle course.

It begins with a “pole jump,” over offset logs, which lead to a “high wall,” a solid wall with ropes. Next is a “log roll,” then a “climbing-wall traverse,” a “cargo net,” “monkey bars” and the course finishes with the “Burma Bridge.”

The spectators who post the top three fastest times will receive prizes – first place gets $500.

Slackline Brothers Inc. brought its state-of-the-art slacklines for anyone who wishes to test their balance, strength and concentration.

Slacklining depends on a long, wide and elevated length of nylon, reminiscent of a tightrope.

The sport began in the early 1980s as a training method for climbing.

“Actually, the sport started in Yosemite, (Calif.), and is a method to hone your balance and concentration,” said Yarrow Fewless, who has been pursuing the sport for the past three years.

Fewless proceeded to demonstrate tricks on the slackline, including “surfing the line” and the “forward leap,” which he perfected at his parents’ house on a slackline, across which he was able to jump 10-horizontal feet.

“A willing mind can learn to take six or seven (unassisted) steps in a half hour,” said Fewless.

The Adventure Village is open from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. in Beaver Creek today. Competition registration and check-in for the Balance Bar 24-hour Adventure Race begins at 9 a.m. Outward Bound clinics will be held from 3:30-6:30 p.m. And the Ford Adventure Sport Challenge film festival runs from 8-10 p.m. at the Vilar Center.

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at

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