Adventure Vacations: a roller coaster holiday in Utah
Who is looking for a fun albeit extreme summer adventure?
Whether summer or winter, the best thing to do with your vacation time is to spend it testing yourself to the limits. We all know that life only begins at the end of your comfort zone so its time to get out and embrace a new reality.
Beach holidays are over-rated, Disney’s over-priced and you explored the Yosemite last year so what’s left? If you’re looking for a roller-coaster ride of a holiday, we’ve got some adrenaline-pumping activities you can combine to build your own iconic adventure vacation. From the fastest to the most remote, they’re all brought to you by the state of Utah – where ideas connect.
When people are literally dying while waiting to reach the top of Mount Everest, you know adventure vacations are the in thing, but queueing for an extreme experience isn't really our style so we've sought out a few breath-taking experiences closer to home where you can get your risk fix without standing in line.
The Fastest: Bobsledding in Utah
You've already been shark cage diving, bungee jumping, and white-water rafting so you're beginning to think there's nothing new out there to get your blood pumping. You couldn't be more wrong, however, and you don't even have to travel far to enjoy one of the fastest experiences you’ll ever endure.
Utah may be famous for its infamous salt lake but it’s got a lot more to offer than just that and you could experience one of the most exciting, high-speed adventures of your life there. Ever imagined what it's like to travel at over 90 mph while squeezed into a sled that resembles an empty tin can? Well, according to those who’ve already bombed down the Olympic Games Sliding Track in Salt Lake City, it’ll give you an insight into how astronauts feel when they speed off into space.
If fast and wild is what you’re looking for, look no further. Just bear in mind that the bobsledding could be affected by the weather and that they only run on snow – which is faster and wilder than the concrete track they use in summer – between mid-December and the end of March each year.
Bobsledding isn’t a budget experience but if you don’t mind forking out $175 for the ride of your life, then it’s definitely for you. There are plenty of other adrenalin-pumping experiences for thrill seekers to enjoy once there as well. Get a completely different kind of thrill by tubing down the Nordic jump, zip lining down the mountainside or testing your mettle on one of the rope courses.
The bobsled ride itself may only be a minute of your life, but it’s a minute that you’ll remember for years to come while the splendour and beauty of Utah will stay with you forever.
The Most Unusual: Red River Adventures
White knuckles and white-water rafting is where it all began for the team at Red River Adventures, but now it’s expanded, it’s got some of the most terrifying experiences known to Utah. A multi-sport activity package could see you rushing downstream on a six-person raft or going it alone in a single-person inflatable kayak.
If you prefer your water frozen to fluid, then ice climbing might be more up your street. Tackle the 600-foot Tyrannosaurus or opt to scale the daunting Donorcicle Joe’s Valley depending on how much adventure you think you can take. If ice is something you’d rather have in your martini than your crampons, why not try your hand at canyoning instead? Red River Adventure guides favour the Chamisa Canyon experience for its combination of technical rappelling, easy scrambling and lots of wading.
For those of you who like to have all four feet on the ground, horse-riding is a popular activity if you don’t mind entrusting your life to a big hairy beast. Trails will take you past the looming splendour of Castleton Tower and weaving along the same routes John Wayne once traversed.
Red River Adventures can last for a couple of hours or a couple of days depending on how much time you have and how much excitement you can handle. A multi-day, multi-activity package definitely offers the best value for money with three days of rafting and rappelling setting you back around $375 per person.
The Scariest: Diving, Jumping, Falling
Are you the kind of person whose plans are generally in up the air? Well, Utah has the perfect experience for you too. Whether you feel like finging yourself out of a fast-moving plane or off a very tall mountain, you can do it in Utah!
One of the newest and most exciting rope zones in the world is at the Wasatch Mountain Range where you get to drop 10,500 ft. If that doesn’t sound scary enough, how does it make you feel knowing that not everyone has survived the experience? Of course, every extreme sport carries some level of risk, but the operators at Skydive the Wasatch do their best to ensure your safety at every stage.
This tandem skydive will see you securely strapped to an experienced Tandem Master as you accelerate to over 120 mph. After the exhilaration of the freefall, your instructor will pull on the ripcord, opening the canopy above, and treat you to breathtaking views over the mountains.
If that sounds a little too tame for you then I’m afraid you’re out of luck. While there used to be a few opportunities for base jumping in Utah, many of them have fallen by the wayside. It seems some extreme sports are just too damn dangerous for their own good! Still, there’s always the Mothership Space Net if you’re looking for something really off the wall.
Do something different with your vacation this year by following these simple steps:
1. Take a deep breath
2. Remember you’re an iconic man
3. Go to Utah
4. Do something incredible
5. Take photographs
6. Go home
7. Turn your friends green with envy
It’s time to unleash your inner beast and discover new pursuits and new destinations. After all, with climate change evolving from the realms of fake news to a tangible reality, we honestly don’t know how much longer these natural adventures can continue.
Open your heart and mind to a new adventure this summer and find out just how much of an iconic man you really are. Don’t forget – life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
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Nicky is an avid adventurer and horse-rider from the UK. Now living in in rural South Africa with a variety of animals, plants and a husband, she loves the written word and the natural world. Eager to share ideas on everything from astronomy to zoology, she reads voraciously and believes in the power of the word to change the way we live.