As April approaches, another ski season is almost in the books. To some, that means preparing for a spring climb the trumps most others. We’re talking about the Imperial Challenge; a rite of spring if you will. This year, the Imperial Challenge is gaining a few new rules and bringing some more fun back to the competition. There will no longer be a short course offered in this challenge. Every competitor must “take the challenge” to reach to the of Peak 8. Stop us here. What IS the Imperial Challenge you ask?
Well, according to the directors:
The Imperial Challenge is a pseudo triathlon.
The Imperial Challenge is a rite of spring.
The Imperial Challenge is a party.
The Imperial Challenge is what you make of it.
The Imperial Challenge is fun!
There are 3 sections to the challenge: Gear Drop-Off, The Ride/The Run and The Ascent and Descent. Essentially, there is 3523’ of climbing to get to the very top of Peak 8. This includes biking or running to the base of Peak 8 and then transitioning to your climbing gear. This year, you can register in the Retro Division where you will be running or biking with all of your gear with no drop off! (OG style!) The run/bike starts from the Breckenridge Recreation Center on Airport Road to the Breckenridge Ski Resort by County Road 3. It is 6.2 miles and mostly dirt road. The elevation gain for your first section totals 950’. More details and directions, including specific mapping is listed here. Next comes the uphill portion. Special note: there is a 12:30 p.m. cut off time at the T Bar. Whatever your choice of gear, you probably won’t be alone. You’ll see: ultralight skimo gear, tele mark gear, traditional AT gear, splits boards and snowshoes. As long as your uphill gear has metal edges for your descent, you’re good to go! (Running cleats, sleds, skate/classic nordic skis not allowed).
Updates for the 2016 Race:
- No more Short Course option.
- Category for Heavy Metal/Rec Open for Men & Women. This is for those who don’t want to worry about making the cut-off time, have a super heavy setup or are just out there to have a good time!
- Retro Open Category. Doing it the old school way, you must carry all of your gear during the bike portion instead of dropping your gear off at the base of peak 8. You are NOT required to pedal in your ski boots.
One of the main and most important aspects of this race is to make it a tough honest challenge with a low-key community vibe. This year welcomes the Imperial Challenge’s 25th year, so you can see that this has been a race within our community for quite some time.
So, are you looking to challenge yourself? Looking to have some fun with friends? Whatever your motive, you are welcome to participate in the Imperial Challenge and do what works for you!