Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Treetop adventures

Treetop adventure "Arbre Sutton" opens for the season

By M. Helmuth Starhemberg
I did not meet Tarzan on Saturday but I had the opportunity to observe dozens of people having a great time emulating him. Arbre Sutton, the huge treetop adventure complex officially opened for the season and allowed people to try the adventure course at only $ 11.- By the time I visited, they had approximately 150 reservations for the day according to Janna Hubajec, one of the permanent staff members of this co-operative venture. Janna was kind anough to walk me through the forest so that I could see the children's course, the instructors who give operational and safety lectures to participants and then to actually see people slide down the lines for the first time. What fun!

"You have to be this big to go", explained a lovely young lady standing next to the measuring guide. "This big" is 1m 80cm with arms fully extended. This is to ascertain that body lenth and the reach of the harness can safely control a child.
The more than 100 acre site features 72 elements in a variety of courses which are graduated in intensity from 4 meters above the ground to 9-12 meters. There are ziplines, suspended bridges, flying swings and one of the most astonishing sceneries one may experience. It is absolutely safe to glide suspended at great hight through the ancient forest of this side of the mountain that few ever get to see.
Arbre Sutton is a non-profit solidarity co-op and has been steadily growing to its present strenght of 187 members. There are also five year- round staffers and in Summer, eight guides who have to undergo a lengthy training course to be able to make their charges comfortable and secure through their adventures. I saw one guide give the preliminary instructions and safety lecture and the demonstration of the use of the harnesses and the correct way to buckle up, climb to the starting platform and safely land on the other end of the glide. I would not hestitate to entrust my grandchildren into his care!

I visited Arbre Sutton just about one month ago when they had just shut down their winter activities which include 30 kms of groomed cross country trails, 15 kms of snowshoe track, two cabins to warm up by a fire and snowshoe and ski rentals. A month later there is no trace of the other side of this intrigueing venue. Now its officially summer in the trees and I was assured that Tarzan could obtain a free pass if he would entertain the guests in exchange.

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