Snow Valley summer aerial park hopes to attract Edmonton outdoor enthusiasts
Edmonton city council has given the green light to Snow Valley’s plans to build a summer aerial obstacle course in the nearby Rainbow Valley campground.
The 15-metre tall wood and rope structure – the height of a five-storey building – has three levels, with 30 different elements or obstacles on each level.
It’s a giant, adult-sized jungle gym that can accommodate 120 people simultaneously. Climbers wear safety harnesses as they step, straddle and swing across various rope bridges and platforms.
There’s also an additional children’s course (low ropes course) with 19 elements at ground level.
The course will be manufactured by KristallTurm North America in Squamish, B.C. Snow Valley has purchased the KT90 model, which has also been installed in several places in Europe and the United States.
Gallery: Photos of the KristallTurm KT90 installed in Castle Rock, Colorado (opened May 2016) and Franklin, Tennessee (opened August 2015)
The course will be marketed to both tourists and locals. It could accommodate school field trips, birthday parties, corporate retreats, fitness classes and families.
Admission fees will be about $30, with discounts for kids and Rainbow Valley campers.
Snow Valley first said it wanted to build a summer adventure activity area when it released its 10-Year Master Plan in May 2013, which calls for more four-season operations. The ski hill is popular during the winter, but the society that runs the hill wants to keep the momentum going once the snow melts.
Michael Walters, the city councillor for the area, said he’s thinks building the course is the right thing to do because the area already has development and the park will be a significant attraction for the city.
“[Snow Valley Ski Club] has done a wonderful job of stewarding out their small piece of the river valley down there, and you know this this adventure rope park project has been around, the idea’s been around for a long long time,” Walters said at City Hall Tuesday.
The Snow Valley Ski Club already bought the course and the pieces are ready to go on site. The plan won the approval of the City of Edmonton’s Community Services Committee last week, and went before council Tuesday, where it also passed.
Snow Valley sits on public parkland, not private property, and is run by a not-for-profit society that has an agreement with the city.
Two things had to happen for the course to be built: an environmental impact study had to be approved, and the location deemed “essential” due to a rule in the city’s river valley bylaw. Walters said extensive community consultation was also required as part of the bylaw.
“So public’s had a long time to weigh in, there’s a good business case, there’s a need for some summer activity down there,” Walters explained.
“If you see the demand in the winter, it’s an incredible place to be in the winter and since there’s already activity, there’s already development, to provide another amenity that’s focused on the summer and allows people to continue to enjoy the river valley like they do in the winter, in that particular area, is completely fine by me.”
The aerial park was originally planned to go in a meadow on the south side of Snow Valley, but the location was changed to the campground after a review of safety, security, and the amount of area required to support skiing operations.
Building the aerial park in the campground will require eight mature trees and eight tenting sights to be removed.
Snow Valley conducted a guest satisfaction survey last year and 89.9 per cent of those who took part were strongly in favour of the development.
The goal is to open to attraction for the May 2017 long weekend.
The entire project will cost approximately $1.6 million, with all costs being incurred by the Snow Valley Ski Club.
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