Off the Hill with Tricia Swenson: Kids Adventure Games cap off summer
Off the Hill
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As kids head back to school, one of the most-asked questions is: What did you do this summer? For those who participated in the Kids Adventure Games in Vail, they will have quite a story to tell.
Imagine explaining to the class that you did a Tyrolean Traverse, climbed slick walls and cargo nets, ziplined across and tubed down Gore Creek, rock climbed, crawled through a mud pit and slid down the face of Vail Mountain on a slip ’n slide, all in one day!
These are a few of the features youngsters encountered during the Kids Adventure Games, which started in Vail in 2010 but is now held at various locations across the U.S. Adventure racing not only tests their mettle, but also their ability to navigate and problem-solve. The course map is top secret and not seen by any of the participants or their parents until race day.
We had a chance to follow the expert division, consisting of youth ages 12 to 14 years old on Friday. Intermediate and beginner divisions were hosted on Saturday and Sunday, with racers as young as 6 years old competing.
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These kids were decked out in the latest athletic wear, hands-free hydration systems on their backs, and the required helmet and bike gloves. Some had matching outfits and team names like Fire Breathing Rubber Duckies and Haywire Hufflepuffs. We kept on running into Team Fuzzy Pickles at various checkpoints, and these gals were always holding hands as they would run to their next obstacle.
Teamwork and instilling an independent attitude are the major themes throughout the race. Parents are allowed to spectate, but they are not allowed to interfere with the racers at all during the race and are encouraged to keep verbal encouragement positive. The satisfaction and accomplishment the kids feel when they’ve completed the course is due mostly by knowing they did it all on their own.