There’s adventure around every corner
VAIL, Colorado – The Vail Recreation District Kids Adventure Race hit Vail Village on Sunday, a family event enjoyed by parents as much, if not more, than their children.Which is no surprise – course designer Billy Mattison, a former adult adventure racer, said he designed the course around features he would have enjoyed as a kid. The course – run by participants ages 6 to 12 – included mountain biking, hiking, tubing, archery, a low ropes course, a zipline, a climbing wall, a Tarzan swing, a giant “slope-n-slide,” a slackline over a mud pit and more.The race hosted 110 two-kid teams who worked together to navigate a variety of sports and and problem-solving challenges. It was run in a similar fashion to adult adventure races, where teams must make sure all their members reach a series of checkpoints to complete the timed race.”I liked the walking down the river part; my feet got all numb and stuff,” said Gus Leblanc, who finished first in his age division along with teammate Max Bervy. “My favorite part was the tubing. I like pulling the tube, and it was really cold,” said Lucas Bergsten, who finished first in his age division along with teammate Brody Nielsen. Participants were encouraged to pick up course debris along the way, getting points off their time for doing so. Many teams crossed the finish line carrying trash, and The Little Tasmanian Devils won the honorary “Environmental Award” for their efforts to clean up the course along the way. A focus on teamwork was the most important aspect of the competition to race organizers. Following the competition, officials such as Jamie Gunion and Beth Pappas, with the VRD, traded stories of camaraderie on the course in an effort to reward certain teams for their synergy. “(Cate Dougherty) of team 111 (the Mountaineers) crashed really hard. They didn’t think she was going to make it,” Gunion said. “Her little brother had to run back and get her in the creek a couple times. But as soon as she hit the slope-n-slide, she was back in business.”The third-annual race adds more teams every year and always fills fast. This year’s event reached capacity a month before the competition, complete with several out-of-state teams and even a team from Venezuela, making it an international event. The 110 teams were named by the kids themselves with creative titles such as the Heavy Metal Unicorns, the Flying Meatball Team and the Surfing Neon Penguins. Monkey-themed teams were popular this year (including the Funky Monkeys, Fire Monkeys, Mountain Monkeys, Middaugh Monkey Brothers, Trouble Monkeys and C Monkeys), and adults concerned about what their kids watch on TV will be happy to know the old Warner Brothers Cartoons of their youth are still popular among the kids of today, evidenced by teams named the Loony Toons, Road Runners, Coyote Crushers, Little Tasmanian Devils and Speedy Gonzalez. For parents, the Kids Adventure Race always proves to be a great excuse to get the whole family together, Grandma and Grandpa included. 11-year-old Minturn racer Caleb Dennis’ grandmother came in from St. Louis to watch him take on the course, and the Bruce Family, from Avon, had a regular old family reunion over the event. Kristina Bruce’s 80-year old father, Ed Denzler, came in from California, along with her brother Steven Denzler, his wife Meredith and their 4-year-old son Evan, who wore matching orange to cheer on his cousins, 8-year-old Tianna and 6-year-old Stewart Bruce, who participated in the race.”He’s their mascot,” said Kristina Bruce. “I think he’ll want to come back and participate one day.”Carling Delaney, a spectator cheering on team Lightning Boltz, also wants to come back and participate one day. The 26-year-old local said she wished there were short adventure races like this one for adults.”It looks so fun,” she said. “All the ones for adults are like 10 hours long.”Organizer Jeff Wiles with Vail Resorts, a major sponsor/supporter of the event, said getting older kids in the race is among their goals, but he wasn’t talking about kids quite as old as Delaney. “In the future we’d like to get something for the 13- and 14-year olds,” he said.
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Vail’s updated plans regarding the state guidelines and isolation housing requirements is one of several pieces of information guests are waiting on heading into the 2020-21 season.