A DAY AT EDMONTON'S SNOW VALLEY AERIAL PARK
There are obstacle courses in the air.
If that doesn't set your adventurous heart pumping, then maybe you didn't hear me right.
Obstacle course. In the air.
We all know Lucas and I are competitive, so it is no surprise that since it opened May 20th (also the day we met, so if that isn't fate I don't know what is) we have both been itching to go and try Edmonton's Snow Valley Aerial Park out.
So first, the boring:
We arrived around 1:00pm on a Friday, approximately half an hour before our booking, which is also how far in advance they recommend you arrive. It gave us just enough time to use the washroom, for me to pull back my hair, and to get all of our stuff tucked away in their free mini lockers below the obstacle course (first come first serve basis!). Snow Valley Aerial Park is conveniently located at Rainbow Valley Campground, so if you're visiting you can camp here as well. You can't leave the course area once you begin, so make sure you go to the washroom. You also can't bring anything up on the course with you, because everything is a falling hazard with people walking and climbing below you. So no mid-course pictures I'm afraid.
Now, the exciting stuff:
Looking up at the course we couldn't wait to get started. There are over 100 obstacles and challenges on the course, spread out over three levels. The kids level features 19, so it is family friendly if you're into that sort of thing. The course obstacles are themed on the River Valley in Edmonton, so of course they are based on camping, skiing, and snowboarding.
We got harnessed in and were taught the ropes of the Safety Clic-it Belay system, which was much cooler than it sounds. The system uses magnets to keep you safely clipped in: one of your two clips is always 'locked' on and will not unlock until the other is magnetically clipped on at an entry point magnet. This way, you have mobility and are always clipped in! It was cool!...Really!
It's not dorky to get excited about safety guys
Once we got the hang of it we clipped onto the course and everyone ascended to the first level past the kids area. The skill levels on each obstacle are colour coded like ski runs: green for easy, blue for moderate, and black for difficult. The lowest tier level has more easy and moderate obstacles, but as you get to the third level it progresses to more difficult (black) challenges.
We made the mistake of starting easy and working our way up. If it was a mistake depends on how you look at it, but the way I see it is that we were already exhausted by the time we got to the most difficult challenges. Had we started at the top, the lower levels would have been peanuts. So preparation was totally our problem, not skill or strength...we would have totally made it through all of them if not for our ill planning...
So what were the challenges like?
Well, easy challenges were sometimes just planks you had to step across. Or an adorable little suspended campervan you could walk through and sit in.
Moderate obstacles were the most abundant, and our bread and butter. They were challenging but not impossible. Swinging footholds you have to swing across. Rotating tire swings. Just picture a bunch of different objects you have to traverse, but they all swing or move. That's moderate.
Then you have the difficult. Some of which weren't so bad. Others? Maybe it is just because I am 5'4" and have zero upper body strength, but how? Who does these? Footholds that, if you don't step on with both feet at the same time and with the same weight distributed on each, spin around so nothing can stay on them. So basically, just hold yourself up with your arms. Which as I explained... doesn't really work for me. Anything monkey bar related? I'm out. Throwing in the towel.
Honestly though, next time I go back– and there will be a next time– I will attempt more of the difficult challenges. Mostly because I'm stubborn and competitive, and I know others have completed the challenges I didn't even try.
Are you going to try out the first course of it's kind in Canada?