Saturday, April 6, 2024


If you’re looking for a tough honest challenge with a low-key community vibe then you’ve come to the right place. The Imperial Challenge helps commemorate springtime in Breckenridge.

All competitors race from the Breckenridge Recreation Center to the base of Peak 7. Then, after transitioning to uphill gear, all competitors climb to the top of Peak 8 at 12987′. The final leg is the downhill to the finish back at the base of Peak 7.

What is it?
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!

Categories (see descriptions below):
Runners Women and Men
SkiMo Women and Men
Retro Open Women and Men
Heavy Metal Rec Open Women and Men
Snowboard Splitboard Women and Men
Team Relay
Team Duo

Runners-9:15 Start Time
Perhaps the most hard core group that will be racing (no offense to anyone else)!
Runners contest the exact same course as everyone else and will run the section that everyone else will ride. This is a 6 mile section…essentially a 10K. Runners may ascend and descend on their gear of choice…this is an OPEN category in that we do not break it down between Heavy Metal, Snowboard etc…
Runners start at 9:15 and we will recognize the Top 3 Males and Top 3 Females

Retro Open (also known as the Doc PJ Category)-10:00 Start Time
When the Imperial Challenge first began everyone rode carrying their ski gear on the bike. Doc PJ has never done it any other way! While most competitors now use the Gear Drop-Off option, we maintain tradition with the Retro Open Women and Retro Open Men Categories. Competitors pedal with ALL their uphill and downhill gear. Retro Open racers  may ascend and descend on their gear of choice…this is an OPEN category in that we do not break it down between Heavy Metal, Snowboard etc. It is NOT necessary to pedal with ski/snowboard boots on. But, you must bring boots with you on the bike and not stage any gear at the Transition. Awards will be presented to the Top 3 Males and Top 3 Females. Retro Open racers are eligible for the Overall Championship.

SkiMo-18 & Under, 19-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+ in both Male and Female-10:00 Start Time
These competitors are on BIKES for the first portion. Most SkiMo competitors go uphill on lightweight SkiMo race setups (although this is NOT a requirement). This category is designed for those intending to compete in their age group and for the Overall. Skimo category racers typically produce the fastest times in the event. The first place in each Age Division, with the Overall Top 3 having been removed, will be recognized.

Heavy Metal/Rec Open-(skis required)-9:15 Start Time
These competitors are on BIKES for the first portion.
Over the years we’ve received feedback that the event has gotten super competitive (not necessarily a bad thing)! This is due to the introduction of lightweight SkiMo gear and basic human evolution. This category is for those that have a heavy set-up and/or just wanna have fun. This category hearkens back to the good old days when the Imperial Challenge was more participatory. That said, we do recognize the Top 3 Men and Top 3 Women. After all, it is a competition!
*To be clear, you may compete in this category on lightweight equipment. You see, Heavy Metal/Rec Open is as much about your attitude as it is the equipment you’re using. 

Splitboard/Snowboard (One Category)-9:15 Start Time
These competitors are on BIKES for the first portion.
For those on a Splitboard or who climb on Snowshoes, and descend on a regular Snowboard.
Awards to the Top 3 Males and Top 3 Females.

Team Relay-9:15 Start Time
The relay offers two different categories; Team Relay Bike and Team Relay Run
One teammate races on the first section of the course (either running or riding). The second teammate does the Ascent and the Descent.
This category is designed for those that don’t want to do the whole course, don’t ski and can only do the Ride or the Run, or don’t Ride or Run and only want to do the ski! The Ascent/Descent portion for Team Relay competitors may be done on any type of gear that has metal edges. Stated another way, this is an open category that will not be broken down further by type of ski or snowboard gear.

Team Duo-9:15 Start Time
A brand new category in 2023!
Designed for a parent and daughter or son and expanded in 2024 to welcome ANY TWO PEOPLE who wish to be together for the event.
The idea for this category was initiated by some local parents who were encouraging their kids to do the Imperial Challenge. Imagine the convo at dinner…”Well, Mom (or Dad), I’ll do it if you do with me”!
And voila! That’s all it took for the gears to start turning!

Once we committed to the idea, it became apparent that, to be fair, this could be expanded to include ANY two people wishing to be together for the event.

Both teammates race together, with one bib being worn by either teammate. Both teammates must cross the finish line together! Gear for the Ascent and Descent portions is your choice in this category. It can be different between the two teammates
We LOVE mountain culture!
What better way to share the love of outdoor adventure than to offer a category where it is experienced  together?


Start Times:
9:15am for Runners, Heavy Metal Rec/Open, Splitboard/Snowboard, Team Relay and Team Duo
10:00am for Retro and SkiMo

$65 for Solo categories
$90 for Team Relay
$110 for Team Duo

Neckie with Imperial Challenge logos

Register online until your wave starts on April 6.


At Breckenridge Recreation Center Friday evening April 5 from 5:00-7:30pm and Race Day AM beginning at 8:00am

Option 1-if you’re a cyclist, leave the car at home and ride to the start. Running? Consider taking a Free Ride bus to the start…it’s the Yellow Route!
Option 2-Breckenridge Rec Center parking lot
Option 3-Airport Road Lot
Option 4-Any in-town parking of your choosing…link to


The Transition area will be in the Parking Lot directly beneath the Peak 7 Gondola Station at Crystal Peak Lodge

GEAR DROP-OFF begins at 7:30am. 
The space to drop-off is limited. Please consider riding the Gondola up and then back down to drop off your uphill gear and bike lock.
If you must drive to the drop-off, please be as efficient with your time as possible.
Bike Racks are first-come, first-served.
A couple of bike racks will be reserved for Retro Open…we will let you know where they are before you start and we will have a Transition attendant to help you out.


The first portion of the Imperial Challenge is a Bike or Run from the Breckenridge Recreation Center to the base of the Breckenridge Ski Resort via County Road 3.  The route is 6.0 miles and is on mostly dirt road.  
For cyclists…some choose Road Bikes, some choose Mountain Bikes.
Others choose Cross bikes.
Your choice doesn’t matter to us, but choose wisely. And remember 2009 when it snowed a foot the night before the race!

We will NOT provide security for bikes. STAGE A LOCK so that your bike is secure while you are climbing.


The choice of UPHILL gear generates the most discussion!  Factors including weight, comfort, transition times and performance are considered! You will see racers on ultralight SkiMo gear. Some choose telemark gear. Others choose more traditional AT gear. You’ll see splitboards and folks on snowshoes carrying gear in a backpack. And, of course, you’ll see people in costumes!
It doesn’t matter how you ascend as long as the stuff you’re descending on has metal edges. Running cleats, sleds, skate/classic nordic skis are not allowed. *To be clear, Heavy Metal/Rec Open competitors may race on lightweight equipment. Heavy Metal/Rec Open is as much about your attitude as it is the equipment you’re using. That said, sandbagging is strongly discouraged. Just be mindful of the 12:30 cut-off at the top of the T-Bar.

As you leave the base area on your way uphill, take a look at the finish corral configuration. It’s right there as you start to climb. Missing the finish line is a bummer. So take matters into your own hands and do a quick inspection as you climb by.

Climb on lookers’ left. This is the path of least resistance and the natural line.
Descend on skiers’ left and be on the lookout for the LEFT onto Fort Mary B.

Once you make the left onto Fort Mary B simply descend what you already climbed, staying right at the bottom, and enter the finish corral!

The bike/run portion is marked with Yellow rectangles/Black arrows.
The ski portion, both up and down, is marked with RED stuff…pin flags and Red Giant Slalom panels on short pieces of PVC…just be on the lookout for the Red Stuff. The course is well marked! That said, it’s on you to be scanning and looking ahead; especially when descending.

In the finish area beginning at High Noon!

Climb Fort Mary B to Claimjumper to bottom of T Bar.
Climb up T Bar lift line to top of T Bar. 
At top of T Bar continue straight up Imperial Ridge: the shoulder of Peak 8. 
Continue climbing to very top of Imperial Chair and then bootpack to the Summit of Peak 8
Transition at top of Peak 8 and ski northbound toward Peak 7 and the run Whale’s Tail
Descend Whale’s Tale to Vertigo
Vertigo to Lower Forget Me Not
LEFT onto Claimjumper
LEFT onto Fort Mary B and Finish to the skier’s right of the Independence SuperChair


From the top of the Imperial Chair, descend Imperial Ridge to just above top of T Bar
Turn left out the North Bowl Gate
This will merge you onto Pika
Descend Pika to Claimjumper
Left onto Fort Mary B and finish to the skier’s right of the Independence Super Chair.


Overall Top 3 Men and Women RUN competitors will receive:
1st Place=First Place Medal
2nd Place=Second Place Medal
3rd Place=Third Place Medal

Overall Top 3 Men and Women BIKE competitors will receive:
1st Place = First Place Medal
2nd Place = Second Place Medal
3rd Place = Third Place Medal

Medals will be presented to the Top Male and Female finisher in each SkiMo Age Category with Overall Top 3 Removed
Medals will be presented to the Top 3 Overall Male and Female Retro Open
Medals will be presented to Top 3 Place Overall Male and Female Heavy Metal/Rec Open finishers.
Medals will be presented to the Top 3 Overall Male and Female Splitboard/Snowboard finishers
Medals will be presented to the Top 3 Teams in the Team Relay, regardless of gender or equipment used.


Hagan Ski Mountaineering is offering a Hagan Imperial Challenge Special.
Click this link to be directed to special pricing (30% off single item, 40% off skis and bindings)