Leap into summer with Snow Valley
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If you’re new to outdoor sports, Alberta has your ticket to adventure! Discover thrilling new nature activities, when you discover #ABWAYS2SUMMER.
Taking a leap is always scary but in this case we’re not talking metaphor - we’re talking an actual freefall. Kayan Handoom is staring 15 metres down from the top of the Snow Valley Aerial Park, inches from the edge of a plank. Beyond that, it’s just air.
Her entire day at Snow Valley has built up to this. The Aerial Park is one of several activities at Snow Valley, including a target golf driving range, a mining adventure, Geoscapes dining events and various other food experiences. But make no mistake: the Aerial Park is the main attraction. Will she jump? Perhaps it is, at least in part, a metaphor after all.
Trying new things always begins with some initial reservations. Our basic instincts gear us for comfort and familiarity over the uncomfortable unknown. But life’s greatest rewards don’t come to those who shy away from adventure.
Back in the Klondike days, taking chances was something miners understood. There might be gold in those rivers and the only way to find out is to wade in. Those days may be long gone but you can still get a taste of them at Snow Valley’s Whitemud Creek Mining Co.
Kayan Handoom and her brother Fares, both recent arrivals to Edmonton via Saudi Arabia, came to Canada seeking opportunity. Sifting dirt through a mining sieve in a sluice of water might not have been exactly what they had in mind but it is an enjoyable diversion for the two. And both come up with a few gems for their labours.
While the gems are cool, the two siblings have a different reward in mind that’s even cooler (literally): ice cream. Just around the corner from the mining sluice, the teal and yellow Scoop Shack hits the spot. From their smiles, you’d almost think they’d struck gold. Old Klondike miners would surely be jealous of having such primo service so close to their claims along the Whitemud Creek.
From here, the Aerial Park looms, four stories high. It’s a vertical playground, with ropes and rock climbing features, a unicycle, canoe, camper and various other obstacles staged by degree of difficulty. The routes are clearly marked with difficulty ratings, green for beginner, blue for intermediate, black for advanced (the same as with ski hill runs).
Before climbing, all guests are given a complete training on harness use and safety ropes, so that while you might fall off an obstacle, you will always be safely secured to the climbing tower and able to return to the safety of solid ground. That being said, half the thrill is hovering high above the ground, testing your limits on a climbing feature.
“I enjoyed the canoe and the skateboard one, and I really liked all the climbing,” says Fares. “If you like hiking and adventure, it’s perfect.”
Asked what advice she would give others, especially those who might be nervous to try a new adventure like this, Kayan has a ready answer, “Go one step and you won’t go back. We saw lots of people here, families and kids. Everybody enjoyed it and it’s super safe.”
Despite that knowledge, stepping off a plank 15 metres above ground defies human logic. Standing and looking down, Kayan begins to have second thoughts. She just can’t force herself to step off. So, she asks one of the tower attendants to help her by giving her a little push. And he does!
Suddenly she is in a freefall. She lets out a whoop, and her fall begins to slow down as the safety cable takes her weight and lowers her gently to the ground, where she lies down laughing before popping back up in total exhilaration.
With wide eyes and a huge smile, she says, “Oh my god, my heart is beating now and I’m shaking but I love it! It’s worth it! I would love to do it again.”
Taking a leap may be scary, but this is the real gold and anyone can find it. All it takes sometimes is a little push.
WHEN YOU GO
- In addition to all kinds of recreational opportunities, Snow Valley is also hosting Geoscapes this summer - a fine dining experience featuring rotating chefs. There's also an outdoor bar (hosted by The Botanist gin), a Roasti coffee shack and more.
- Choose your own Snow Valley adventure by booking online: climb, hike, golf, dine, mine!
- Snow Valley backs onto the Whitemud Ravine Nature Reserve that boasts the highest biodiversity in the city! The main hiking trail is approximately 4.4 kilometres round trip on an easy flat grade.
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