For Mountain Chalet's 50th year as Colorado Springs' adventure hub, owners Jim and Elaine Smith could think of no better way to celebrate: They would make a checklist of their favorite to-dos across Colorado, including rock climbs, ski descents and peak bags. People could do as many tasks as possible to win thousands of dollars worth of gear.
Then the Smiths checked in with their insurance company and lawyer.
"They didn't think it was in our best interest to select routes," Jim says. "They said, 'What if you recommended guidebooks and allowed contestants to select their own?'"
So was born the Chalet's epic anniversary challenge, which runs through Oct. 15. The Smiths still are clearing their liability in the high-elevation pursuits - contestants must sign a waiver at the downtown shop, where they can get 20 percent off any of several guidebooks designated for hiking, trail running, backcountry skiing, rock climbing and ice climbing.
"We didn't want to limit people, so the upside of the guidebooks is you get to pick your route for your skill level," Jim says.
Choose one activity or all of them. Accomplishing one of the adventures from the books gets the successor one entry in a drawing, with drawings for each activity. The more accomplishments, the better the chance of having your name drawn and being fully outfitted. The most valuable boon are the skis that powder hounds could win.
The challenge requires proof of accomplishments in the form of pictures that show trailheads and summits. People must use social media and show themselves in the wild places with a flag celebrating the shop's half century.
Pick up that flag at the shop at 226 N. Tejon St. and get more details there.
Here's a sample of tasks to be done from the guidebooks:
Hiking: Gerry Roach's guides to the fourteeners and Indian Peaks, with other books centered on the Front Range, Sangre de Cristos, Maroon Bells, Weminuche Wilderness Area and the southern San Juans.
Trail running: Falcon Guides' "Best Trail Runs: Denver, Boulder & Colorado Springs" and Colorado Mountain Club's "The Best Front Range Trail Runs."
Backcountry skiing/snowboarding: Colorado Mountain Club's "Classic Colorado Ski Descents," with other guidebooks pointing skiers and riders to backcountry terrain in the Tenmile and Mosquito ranges as well as Indian Peaks.
Rock climbing: Stewart Green's "Rock Climbing Colorado," with other guidebooks focused on Shelf Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Flatirons and Eldorado Canyon.
Ice climbing: Polar Star Publishing's "Colorado Ice" and "Rocky Mountain National Park: A Comprehensive Guide to Scrambles, Rock Routes, and Ice/Mixed Climbs on the High Peaks" by Richard Rossiter. And more.