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  • Kids Seek Adventure - Special Parks just for them!

    By Tammie Thompson

    Photo courtesy BlackcombI can't ski with my seven-year-old anymore without having him dart off the trail in search of jumps, bumps, or fresh pow. I am getting a neck ache from all that twisting to look behind and I can't shake the nervousness that comes from not knowing where he is.

    Let's face it, kids love obstacles. They aren't happy unless they are flying off a bump, making fresh tracks or careening off an inadvertent jump. I used to know every bump at our favorite mountain. That was in the days when I spent a lot of time there. Now I have to do some guesswork and I get a lot of "Oh Maw".

    Many ski resorts across the country have made great strides in addressing this "kid adventure" phenomenon. Whistler/Blackcomb, BC has a whole section of the mountain just for kids. Called the Children's Adventure Park, there are wild trails that whip around trees, and even a castle with pipes that shoot kids careening down into a mosh pit of snow (without skis). The kids absolutely love it.

    Photo courtesy BlackcombIt took a while, but resorts in California are beginning to catch on. Heavenly has got their own area for kids, as does Northstar-at-Tahoe. Without much brouhaha, Northstar has added their own version of a kid's adventure park. Dubbed Paw Parks, Northstar has put in two runs full of fun, with more scheduled next season.

    I thought there wouldn't be much to the Slider or Meanderer as they come off the Village Run which is relatively flat. Slider is to skier's right with a nice rustic overhead sign that takes you into a forest of fun. Groomed, the narrow trail has plenty of whoop-de-dos, hairpin turns and airtime to keep everyone entertained. I got tangled up in the hairpins but my son took them at mach 9. It's a place for the kids to hang out in as well. Northstar built a snow slide out of logs with hanging ropes to aid in climbing. The kids chute down the slide and head to a little log tunnel (just their size) and on to more whoop-d-dos and fast turns. They can also head off-piste for some powder, yet be in ear shot of Mom and Dad as they navigate the close quarters.

    Photo courtesy WhistlerThe second adventure speedway is called the Meander. It's to your left as you come down Village Run. A scaled down version of the Slider, beginner skiers or boarders will love it as well. Enough terrain changes to keep my backpack hopping, it turns a somewhat boring trip to the Village into an adventure. Beware, your kids will not be satisfied with just one run. Plan on spending some time in the Gondola to fill their fix.

    Look for more adventure parks in the future. Kidz n'Snow will be highlighting resorts across the country next season. In the meantime, you can read more about Northstar's Paw Parks. Ollie in!

    Archived March 15, 2000

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