Jump, Bounce and Soar

It’s obvious that the new Spider Jump in Sun Valley is big fun even before you see it. Shrieks of joy and “woo hoo” can be heard from quite a distance. When you do see the apparatus, located on the field next to the Recreation Center at the Sun Valley Village, the enthusiastic yelling makes sense.

On your marks, get set, jump!

On your marks, get set, jump!

The bungee spider jump consists of four large individual trampolines on which participants launch into the air wearing a harness that is attached to strong, springy bungee cords. A few big jumps in the middle of the trampolines and up you go, high above the Village. The next four minutes are yours to spend however you set fit. Back flips and front flips are a popular option as is just bouncing in the ether.

Front flip, back flips, big air -- it's all part of the Spider Jump experience

Front flip, back flips, big air -- it's all part of the Spider Jump experience

Last week I took three children, one nine-year-old and two thirteen-year-olds, over the Spider Jump to try it out. Immediately, they were greeted by the two boys who just finished their turn. “It’s awesome!” they advertised.

We were in line behind a family visiting from Washington, D.C. Their two boys, ages 12 and 14 were channeling their best freestyle tricks on the bungees, smiling from ear-to-ear.

Sign a release, step on the scale and off you go

Sign a release, step on the scale and off you go

After signing a release for each, the very helpful attendant Elilel weighed each child (important information in determining how many bungees to hook up to each jumper) and got them set up. The nine-year-old went first, happily stepping into the harness and connecting to the bounce lines.  With a thumb’s up, Elilel told him to start jumping and up he went, laughing all the way.

The girls were next and once they overcame a bit of self-consciousness that comes with the age, they were up in the air flipping and flying and laughing.

Show your stuff on the Spider

Show your stuff on the Spider

Nine dollars buys four minutes on the Spider Jump which may not sound like much, but this is a very active activity. Even my two competitive figure skaters and athletic fourth grader needed to rest during their turn (which means hanging in the air taking a few breaths). Jumpers use their arms, core and legs to keep the momentum going and to perform tricks. After four minutes, all three jumpers were breathing pretty hard.

The Spider Jump is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you weigh more than 30 pounds and less than 200 pounds, you’re in! Elilel said adults seem to like jumping nearly as much as the children. It is, however, not recommended for those with back or neck problems, heart problems, high blood pressure or other conditions that might limit robust activity. Another tip – loose t-shirts may fly up and longer pants and shorts look more comfortable than shorter ones because of the harness. Dress appropriately!

The Spider Jump is big fun in the shadow of the Lodge

The Spider Jump is big fun in the shadow of the Lodge

In between all the other wonderful ways to spend a Sun Valley Summer, from swimming and tennis, to golf and kids’ camps, hiking, biking and skating, make sure you try the Spider Jump. It is something new, it is really fun and it’s a kid magnet.

As Van Halen so eloquently sang, “might as well jump!” This is definitely true at the new four-armed, super springy, bungee-driven Spider in Sun Valley.

–RES

 

Children, the Swan Pond and springtime

Now that the snow on the Valley floor has melted into ever greening patches of grass, spring is officially in the air! Small buds are appearing on branches, stalks of flowers are beginning to take an experimental sniff in the warming air and children are itching to be outside.

Nothing goes together like children and springtime in Sun Valley (photos courtesy of Lisa Dirksmeier)

Nothing goes together like children and springtime in Sun Valley (photos courtesy of Lisa Dirksmeier)

The two-year-old class from Sun Valley’s Community School Early Childhood Center scratched that itch this week with a special field trip to the nearby Sun Valley Lodge and the iconic and always fascinating swan pond. A perpetually interesting, constantly evolving neighbor to the school, the Sun Valley Resort is often a destination for these preschoolers. For them, there is nothing better than communing with the ducks and swans and fish.

One lucky duck gets lunch courtesy of a little student at Community School

One lucky duck gets lunch courtesy of a little student at Sun Valley's swan pond

Teacher Lisa Dirksmeier said, “Sun Valley’s cornucopia of magical, extraordinary offerings are a vital part of our life.” One grandfather, along for the trip, likened the Resort to the “land of make believe” as the children took their time navigating the long pathways that meander around the Village. Frequent stops included discussion of the construction equipment being used to beautify the property, appreciation of figure skaters taking advantage of a warm day on Sun Valley’s outdoor ice and pausing to listen to chiming bells and music.

While getting there was more than half the fun, the children were thrilled to arrive at the pond which graces the entry to the Lodge. A hefty supply of bread, crackers and cereal supplied a feast for the ducks and fish, with a few handfuls reaching the children’s mouths, as well. The little ones chatted with the animals, encouraging them to come back, come back, come back!

A trip to the playground and a picnic lunch rounded out the adventure and left, for Lisa, indelible memories. “I hope the children, while they may not remember this exact trip, will recollect a time of pure, uncomplicated joy,” she said, “a time when traveling was light and easy, and friends, two red wagons, some breadcrumbs and a lunchbox was all that was needed to create a magical afternoon.”

–RES

What's good for the goose is good for the gander ...

What's good for the goose is good for the gander ...