Pass up a powder day? You're thinking no way. Maybe two months ago when the season was just getting started, but certainly not now, not after the recent snow dump and not with more snow coming. Here's an event that might change your mind, if only for three days in February: the inaugural Winter Teva Mountain Games presented by Eddie Bauer.
You've heard of the summer version, the 10-year-old event that's held in late May/early June at Vail with everything from mountain biking to trail running to white-water kayaking. But what happens when you take those adventures and transfer them to a snowier season? Sure, you get the winter games, but what comes along with it, in terms of competition, could be even more intense. Or leave big grins on the faces of thrill seekers, adventure hunters and adrenaline junkies while bursting your lungs, burning your quads and potentially exhausting every muscle in your body.
Scared yet? Don't be. The Winter Teva Mountain Games is supposed to be fun, too. It's just that a handful of the Feb. 10-12 events at Vail could not only challenge your toughest day on skis, but also raise your skiing fitness level up a notch or two.
UphillPick your best weapon--snowshoes, skis, sneakers, you name it if it has traction--to sprint from Lionshead to Eagle's Nest, roughly an 8,000-foot ascent. My lungs are burning just thinking about it.
7 Wonders of VailHave you ever skied all seven miles of Vail's seven bowls in a day? Here's your chance to try. The key here is strategizing your plan of attack and hoping your quads don't give out somewhere along those 2,734 acres.
X-Country SnowshoeFor starters, this 5K/10K at night and you need a headlamp or flashlight to even toe the line. Add a course that starts at an elevation of 10,000 feet, runs up Kloser's Climb, features terrain that shifts between powder and hardpack on single-track and steeps, you're looking at muscle confusion that might equal that of P90X fame.
Teva On-Snow Bike CritYou might be able to hold your own during three seasons of muddy trails, but what happens when you drag your bike into the snow? Test your pedal power--and balance--in this criterium covering the lower portions of Vail Mountain near Golden Peak.
Boot RunIt might be more fun than endurance, but when you buckle into your ski boots to navigate your way through a maze of obstacles-ice, hay bales and tires are fair game-the challenge becomes just as much mental as it is physical. How long can you run in your boots without toppling over?
Ultimate Mountain ChallengeIf you haven't already passed out from the pain and muscle soreness, test yourself in this 3-day competition where you're battling it out for the lowest combined score in three events. Not only do you need to be skilled on skis-nordic, alpine and touring-but you need to be quick on skins, climbing uphill, toting your skis and of course, racing downhill. Emerge victorious and you've earned lifetime bragging rights.
Teva Mountain Games, you have me more than enthused, and that's not even counting the calorie scorching Nordic races. You have me chomping at the bit, wondering how my non-altitude trained legs could make it through the ski mountaineering or skiing the seven bowls-and I thought the Talons Challenge hurt by the 13th run. But who says you can't try?
(Photo by Connor Walberg and Liam Doran, Vail Resorts)