March puts the ‘sun’ in Sun Valley as days grow suddenly longer and brighter, the snow on the mountains begins to turn to corn, and the party at River Run, Roundhouse, and Warm Springs moves outside. Think bluebird skies, lots of live music, the sun on your face, and nothing to do but play all day. Lucky for so many that spring break falls smack in the middle of this munificent month. This year, the pleasures of a family spring break in Sun Valley are even more palatable with a Kids Ski Free special in March. Yes, you read that...
There’s only one complaint from the parents of children participating in the Kids Adventure Games and it’s a pretty simple one: Why don’t you have a course for the grown-ups?!
For the second straight year the Kids Adventure Games (KAG) will return to Sun Valley on Labor Day weekend, September 5-6th. It will be the sixth stop on the nationwide, ski town tour that challenges kids to make their way through an obstacle course that’s basically a gigantic jungle gym in the mountains.
For last year’s inaugural event in Idaho, my oldest son, Jack, teamed up with his good buddy, Isaac Burks. Just a couple days before they started first grade, the six-year-old dynamic duo had a blast.
“It was really fun,” Isaac said.
When asked if he would recommend the KAG to his friends, Jack said that most kids he knows would really like it.
“It makes you stronger and you get to do lots of cool stuff like ‘American Ninja Warrior,’” Jack said, referencing his favorite summer TV show. Jack said that his favorite elements were, “climbing over the water on the nets, doing the rock wall rappelling, shooting water balloons, and mountain biking.”
There are 18 elements on a course that takes less than an hour for most kids. But it’s really not about how long it takes the kids, it’s how much fun they have and how much self-confidence they gain from conquering a very cool, but still taxing course.
Teams of two navigate a “natural terrain” inspired obstacle course that covers the area around River Run Lodge. The race begins on bicycles and then challenges kids with a series of obstacles like zip lines, climbing walls, a Darwin Dash across a floating platform, a tube float down the Big Wood River, a double rope walk, some rock climbing, and it ends with a slip ‘n slide on the face of Baldy down Lower River Run.
One of the best parts about the course is that parents can easily walk along it and watch the kids rappel, slack line or float down the river. There are also lots of course marshals there to help guide the kids.
The Kids Adventure Games is open to teams in boys, girls and co-ed divisions and will take place rain or shine. Teammates don’t even need to be the same age. Registration in advance is recommended, and the entry fee includes not only the day of the actual races, which is Sunday, but also Skills Clinics on Saturday afternoon as well.
With Kids Adventure Games growing in popularity at Sun Valley’s sister ski resorts like Mammoth Mountain, Snowbird, Vail, and Big Sky, it’s obvious that they appeal to young mountain fans. Now if they’d just let some of us older mountain fans/local moms and dads run the course too, there’d be no complaints at all.
“Every kids should do it at least once,” Jack said.
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