Benjamin Allen believes outdoor pursuits can positively influence those in need. This belief has led him all over the continent, building a ropes course for an orphanage in Mexico and setting up two courses for troubled youth at Provo Canyon School, a bit closer to home. Wanting to share his knowledge of nature with the public, he set up a course, CLAS Ropes Course, near Utah Lake nearly 20 years ago. Benjamin and his crew have since erected more than 50 ropes courses around the country, continuing to inspect ropes and train others how to run them.
CLAS Ropes Course continues to grow each year, creating obstacles such as a giant swing that releases passengers 40 feet in the air, a 400-foot zipline that whizzes through forest canopy, and a "leap of faith," where adventure seekers jump from a treetop platform to a trapeze. A log balance beam hung 30 feet above the ground and a 24-foot-tall rock-climbing tower test agility and endurance, and a fleet of 20 canoes lets paddlers navigate a mile and a half of river. Many of these structures play host to team-building activities focused on developing a group's creativity and tolerance for hearing one another sing. Staff members tailor their instruction to families, dating groups, or athletic teams. They often apply their approach to athletes, such as a professional golfer who traveled all the way from Texas hoping to conquer her fear of not qualifying for tournaments. She defeated the log balance beam, departed victorious, and qualified during her next tryout two weeks later.
Hansen Mountaineering caters to rock climbers from novice to expert with an indoor climbing wall, related equipment, and organized trips to marquee climbing destinations. Inside the gym, climbers hone their skills while scaling a wide variety of vertical terrain. Private lessons help novices learn the ropes, and more seasoned climbers can practice their evasive maneuvers, should mountain lions ever grow opposable thumbs. Climbers also can stock up on essential gear suited to their particular passion, be it canyoneering, ice climbing, mountaineering, or bouldering.
Adventure Zipline Utah's tours and expeditions illuminate the beauty of Provo Canyon from riverbed to treetop. Zip lines send airborne tourists careening over tree and field, with mid- and high-speed courses all ending at wooden platforms manned by professional guides. In the valley, the Heber Valley Railroad winds through the glacier-carved canyon as riders snap pictures of Mt. Timpanogos.
At Funtopia, kids' imaginations operate on a whole different level. No, really. With 26 individual climbing elements and activities including miniature skyscrapers, climbable spider webs, and a 19-foot dinosaur, this interactive climbing center lets kids live out their most fanciful mid-air fantasies. When they're not scaling a castle’s walls, kids can also return to the ground with a trip down the parabolic slide or a (controlled) leap from sky-high tower. In addition to hour-long open play sessions, Funtopia also hosts lengthier celebrations in one of the two themed birthday rooms.
The Lehi location of Momentum Indoor Climbing, the newest gym in the group, focuses entirely on bouldering and boasts nearly 10,000 square feet of climbing terrain. And its 13-foot-tall top out boulder replicates the feeling of scrambling up real boulders found outside in nature. Because bouldering is performed without ropes, harnesses, or duct tape, the structures at Momentum are surrounded by a thick pad to cushion any falls.
Momentum's staff offers instruction for complete novices, and a kids' bouldering wall ensures youths tackle age-appropriate challenges.
In olden days, people showed off their strength by jousting or flexing their mustaches. But at Maverik Man Games, both men and women prove their mettle with less violent feats of strength, such as launching a fellow teammate from a giant slingshot. Designed for individuals as well as teams, the competition encompasses up to 10 challenges, which range from showcasing your basketball-shooting skills to wrestling pigs into a barrel. Along with its land-bound activities, Maverik Man Games includes a variety of aqua-centric events, such as a giant rope swing and human slingshot.
Held over two days, the eccentric decathlon takes about two to three total hours to complete. Participants that place in the top three overall or for each challenge are rewarded with cash and prizes. And, all participants are likewise rewarded at the end of the circuit with tasty food, and live music.