Kids can have an adventure at the Utah Olympic Park | ParkRecord.com

Kids can have an adventure at the Utah Olympic Park

A team studies the adventure course map before embarking on a Kids Adventure Games race. This year, the Utah Olympic Park will host a Kids Adventure Games event June 3-5.

Adults can compete in obstacle races like the Spartan Races, the Tough Mudder and the Dirty Dash, but there aren’t many similar events for kids.

Enter the Kids Adventure Games. Based out of Vail, Colorado, the Kids Adventure Games feature teams of two kids, ages 6-14, completing obstacle course events like mud pits, slip ‘n’ slides, slacklines and cargo net climbs.

Co-founder Bill Mattison said the Kids Adventure Games have become so popular in Vail that they’ve decided to take their show on the road. They’ll come to the Utah Olympic Park June 3-5.

"We’ve been doing it for eight years in Vail," he said. "This is the beginning of our third season nationwide. We’re here in Snowshoe [West Virginia] now, then we come to Park City, then to Copper Mountain, Stowe [Vermont] and then Squaw Valley, Mammoth and Big Bear — all in California."

Check-in for the Park City event will be held on Friday, June 3, and that day will also feature an optional skills clinic. On Saturday and Sunday, safety talk and race instruction begins at 8:30 a.m. and races start at 9 a.m.

After hosting the Utah event at Snowbird the last two years, Mattison said the move to Park City made sense.

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"We have access to more people," he said. "Everybody told us that if we came [to the UOP], we’d get way more people and that seems to be the case so far."

Every location is different, Mattison said, but the UOP will have plenty of space to set up a variety of challenges for participants.

"It’s got great bike lanes," he said. "And it’s perfect for setting up a slip ‘n’ slide. It’s got great views and it’s a great venue. We’ll have cargo nets, mud slides, slacklines over mud pits, a blow-dart gun hunt and a water balloon launch."

In addition to the obstacles, a large part of the race involves navigating around the course by using a loosely marked map, Mattison said.

"It’s teams of two and two teams start every two minutes," he said. "We set up a course and try to put as many things as we can in it. I sit down with the teams and go over the course with them, but they have to navigate their way from obstacle to obstacle. A wrong turn here or there isn’t a bad thing."

As much fun as the kids have on the courses, Mattison said the parents have just as much fun watching.

"Kids love doing it, but it’s the parents who pay [for the kids to participate] and they’re blown away by these courses," he said. "They have so much pride in their kids seeing them complete tough tasks and navigate through the course."

Plenty of viewing areas will be available along the course, Mattison said. But, he added, the best views can be found at the finish area.

"You’ll be able to see mud pits and slip ‘n’ slides," he said. "In Park City, we’re going to have the kids do two laps on the slip ‘n’ slide. They’ll be nice and clean after the race."

At the end of the race, Mattison said the goal is for kids to have learned about teamwork, navigation and competition while having fun. He added that there are extra prizes for teams who stand out in various areas.

"Teams who pick up the most trash on the course get a prize," he said. "We also do special awards for the best teamwork. Then it’s also a race, so there are first-, second- and third-place prizes, too."

For more information, or to register for the Kids Adventure Games at the Utah Olympic Park, visit http://www.kidsadventuregames.com .

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