Birds of Prey Talon Crew


Each year, in late November, the volunteer Talon Crew assemble at Beaver Creek Colorado to build and maintain the Birds of Prey downhill. Usually the Birds of Prey is second speed event of the season for the World Cup's White Circus..

The Birds of Prey downhill at Beaver Creek is one of steepest, most technically challenging alpine race courses on the World Cup circuit.  Designed by Swiss skiing legend Bernhard Russi, it was completed in December, 1997.  Birds of Prey debuted with the 1997 World Cup Men’s Downhill and Super-G, and hosted the World Alpine Ski Championships in February of 1999.

Talon Crew 2012 logoIn 2006, a dozen Whistler Weasel Workers travelled to Beaver Creek to observe and learn the operation of one of the best course crews in the world.  We were met with the warmest hospitality and were given the greatest assistance possible.  We had a great time and made many friends.   The Weasels were not the only people to travel from afar to work on the Birds of Prey downhill.   Read this Vail Daily News report for more.

A few Talon Crew members joined the Weasels in Whistler for the "Canadians" in 2007, quite a few more travelled to Whistler in 2008 and we welcomed quite a few more of our friends from the south in 2010.

In Dec 2009, the Talon Crew celebrated the 13th anniversary of the Birds of Prey Race. In 2009, Murray Wood had his third visit to Beaver Creek and wrote this report about his experiences.

For more information about the Talon Crew and how to signup for volunteering at the Birds of Prey downhill check out the Talon Crew Website.  Vail/Beaver Creek was awarded the 2015 World Alpine Championships.  A brand new Women's downhill course, adjacent to the mens Birds of Prey run, has been constructed for the event.  The Talon crew are looking to augment their crew for the December 2013 test events and 2015 World Alpine Championships. Perhaps an opportunity for Weasel Worker road trips.

One of the highlights of the start area of the Birds of Prey downhill in 2006 was the extraordinary "eagle" ice sculpture, pictured above.  The competitors climbed the ramp to the left of the head to the start hut, which sat on the shoulder of the bird, behind the head, next to the flagpoles.  The clear ice eyes with black pupils were quite startling.