The girls and I were lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the brand new Aerial Park at Snow Valley before it opens on Saturday to the public. In one word, it’s incredible. Worth all the hype. The climbing structure is completely safe, offers over hundred different experiences, and might be the best way to get outside and be active with your family this summer.
Basically it’s 4 levels of obstacles adventures for families to experience. You get a pass for 3 hours of climbing time- but it’s a full body workout so be prepared to take some breaks! The activities are graded similar to a ski hill- green, blue, and black (and there’s even a few hidden double black diamonds for the super adventurous).
If you’re taking smaller kids to explore the 19 adventures on the ground level the adult chaperone gets in free. These games are perfect for kids between 100-140 centimetres and are located only 3 feet off the ground, with some games inches above the bottom deck. As a free chaperone you’re not going to be able to go up into the higher levels, but you can accompany your child on the bottom level at no charge. While our 5 year old need assistance with the Belay, our 7 year old figured out the system within the first 20 minutes and was off and running. I would also recommend one adult per kid- the first 20 minutes were tricky with them learning the system, and even after that sometimes a kiddo got scared or stuck and I was running around trying assist. While the rules state 1 adult per 3 kids, having Tim there would have made the morning easier and a bit more fun.
Violet, age 7, loved the course, especially once she figured out how to belay on and off (it’s a new, state of the art, click-it belay). The system is so simple, but completely fool proof- there’s no way they can get off the line once they start. I was SO impressed with the safety of the course, and the fact that a 7 year old could do it without any help and I wasn’t worried for her safety at anytime. She loved the entire bottom level- there were some very challenging elements and some simple ones. But seeing her freedom on the course and watching her confidence soar when she completed a new challenge was completely worth it. Violet like the moving beams, the wiggly climbing wall and the skateboard best. I’ll admit there were some that were tricky elements ( engage the core! ha!) for me on the very bottom- it was super fun.
Maeve, age 5, is “averagely” adventurous for her age and panicked on the wiggly balance beams. Finally I just pulled her off the beam and she found out how she would hang if she lost her balance on an obstacle. Even though I explained several times that she couldn’t fall to ground she just didn’t get it. But once I pulled her off and let her just hang there, her confidence grew a ton. So when you take your younger kiddos, show them right away that if there’s nothing to be scared of by giving them a little swing. I think age 4 would be the minimum I would have taken either of my girls- although adventurous three year olds would have fun. And there’s no upper age limitations for kids enjoying the bottom level.
While Violet is quite fearless and wanted to go everywhere, the higher elements require more height to reach from one game to the next or to just hold on to the obstacle. While she was able to experience some of the 2nd level green attractions ( there’s a minimum of 125 cm to access the entire structure, which she just made the cut) and it was evident she needed bit more height to fully enjoy the obstacles, so be mindful of height restrictions before promising your kids they’ll get to the top. “Juniors” (over 125cm to 140cm tall and wanting to try the upper levels) need a paid, harnessed adult accompanying them.
While I loved going with the kids, I would definitely go back with just my husband for a date night. It’s open till 9pm in the summer, so it’s a perfect evening without kids. I don’t think I’d try to go explore the full course during the same 3 hour time block as the littles- if you’re with them you are missing out on actually exploring the top levels. If our kids were older and taller (and braver!) then we’d make a full family date out of it, but until they are, we will visit on our own!
Other things to keep in mind-
-There’s no phones (sorry no epic Instagram shots while climbing!) or any cameras allowed in the tower. In fact, there’s nothing at all allowed in pockets (no one on a lower level wants to be hit with flying debris). There’s also strict rules about footwear and clothing- make sure you double check the website before your visit.
-Bring a picnic to enjoy the river valley after your climbing time. There are slurpees, ice cream, and various treats and snacks available for purchase at main building but pack some food, extend your visit, watch the climbers and enjoy the scenery.
– You can save $3 per person by purchasing your tickets online in advance. You can also book your climbing time and avoid disappointment.
-It isn’t a cheap day out, so make the most of your time spent. A warm day is ideal as you’re working hard up there. If the weather becomes too rainy or too windy the course will be shut down and rain checks can be offered.
-Arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled time. There are waivers to be signed and don’t want to miss a minute of your time that can be spent climbing. Also use the washroom prior to your visit- once you’re on the course it takes time to get all the way back down- not to mention the harnasses don’t go on and off quickly.
Definitely add this aerial park to your summer bucket list. The park opens May 20th but website is open for bookings now!