Squamish is “Hard-wired For Adventure”. It’s our municipal motto and part of the town’s identity. And now there’s an amazing activity that takes that tagline literally. The Rope Runner Park is, by its very nature, hard-wired for adventure.
Standing 17m tall and 20m wide, the aerial adventure park has been purpose-built for fun. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so please peruse the accompanying photos, but for those who prefer prose, let me attempt to describe this magnificent man-made structure. At its centre is a steel tower and, when looked at from above, you could consider this the hub. Six satellite towers, interconnected by steel and cable, attach to the hub and form a hexagon. And upon this sturdy frame is a coat of many colours; fifty to be exact. Fifty different elements on four horizontal planes with three different skill levels for people to challenge themselves.
I spoke with JP Tondreau, one of the owners, about the Rope Runner Park and its role in Squamish. He said their goal was to help make Squamish less of a pit-stop and more of a destination.
“We have access to a ton of tourists driving the highway,” he said. “how do we capture a portion of those people as they’re driving north?”
Calling Squamish home for over ten years, JP sees the growth this town has experienced and its potential to stand alone as a place for people to flock to and recreate. And while we have plenty of natural habitat to play in, perhaps there’s a need for something different yet complementary to Mother Nature’s playground. The Rope Runner park reaches for and achieves that goal . As for “capturing some of the traffic” it looks as though its caught quite a few modes of transportation in its web already! Central to the various ladders, rungs, walkways and ramps, are such items as a snowmobile, a bicycle, a boat, a kiteboard, there’s even an old triple chair from the Crystal Lift on Blackcomb that you can sit on. If you can get to it, that is!
“We wanted objects for the course to reflect the activities already present in town and in the corridor,” JP says. “And all of them were manufactured here in Squamish.”
You can talk about a thing until you’re blue in the face, but until you actually strap in, you’re not really sure what’s what. It was time for me to try the park out for myself. I was given a harness with two lanyards attached to it, and listened as my Rope Runner guide explained how the Clic-it safety system worked. There’s a video on their website, but essentially the gist is this: you cannot remove both lanyards from the safety cable. When you unclick one lanyard a mechanism in the other one locks. It remains locked until such time as you click your first lanyard back onto a cable. As you can imagine, a park of this nature needs to be 100 percent safe and have all of its bases covered in order to instill confidence in its customers. The forthright and concise explanation of the system and protocols by my guide proved to me that safety is their paramount concern. Safety followed very closely by fun.
Once harnessed up, I climbed the stairs to the first level and considered my options. I’m a… hmm… moderately fit middle-aged fella. So I thought I’d be able to handle most of the challenges put before me. The secret to making that last sentence true was to not put some of the harder challenges before me! Call it a cop-out if you must, but I prefer to think of it as saving some of the park for my next visit.
It was an absolute riot navigating up, down, and all the way around the Rope Runner structure! I was surprised by just how much fun you can have and just how strenuous some of the elements can be. The beauty of this park is that you go at your own pace and wherever you feel comfortable as there are many different routes to choose from. As I said, each element is rated a skill level: green, blue, and black just like a ski hill. Each session can last up to two hours, but after 90 minutes my body had given up (even though my mind still wanted to wander!) For my exit strategy I chose the most direct route: attaching your lanyards to a descending device for a controlled, fourth floor freefall. I’d watched a few people take this leap of faith, yet still got the fluttering butterflies as I approached the edge… It’s that darned first step that’s the doozy, the rest of the descent was pure delight.
So, to the nitty gritty: who can play. If you’re seven years old or more and 125cm (49 inches) tall or more you can test your limits and get that funtime adrenaline pleasing the pleasure centres as it courses thru your veins. There’s an upper weight limit of 120.2kg (265 pounds) that has to do with the safety equipment, and there are other concerns and declaratives as well, which are all covered on the Rope Runners website. I would encourage you to check it out. They do birthday parties and private functions as well.
As JP said, the goal of Rope Runners is, “Trying to make people happy by delivering a great aerial adventure.” Mission accomplished, JP!
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