Extreme Adventure In The Adirondacks

Zip lines, rose swings, scrambling walls, hanging nets, wobbly bridges and suspending surprises. It all awaits within Adirondack Extreme

Story and photos by Priscila Ortiz

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A wobbly bridge makes this woman contemplate her next step.

It started out as a simple idea. New Yorker Jaime Johnson had seen it in Europe. It was fun, adrenaline-pumping, and outdoors. Bored with his job as a sales representative in Hoboken, New Jersey, Johnson decided to open a high-ropes course in upstate New York. And so was the birth of Adirondack Extreme.

A high-ropes obstacle course in Bolton Landing, Adirondack Extreme got its start when Johnson did some research and came upon the Canadian building company TreeGo. Then came the process of building the obstacle course. He had grown up in the area of Lake George and thought Bolton Landing would be perfect. Four months later, Adirondack Extreme was complete. “I thought it would take longer,” said Johnson of the building process. “We started in February of 2007 and we opened on Memorial Weekend.”

The word got around when the local newspapers caught wind of something being built in the woods of Bolton Landing. The word spread down to Albany and up toward Plattsburgh. Johnson also created brochures and a website, and he enlisted the help of local T.V. and radio stations. “But our number one resource was word of mouth,” said Johnson.

“It's great to see how far we've come. Plus, the kids always leave with a smile on their faces. It’s very rewarding.”

Adirondack Extreme is made up of five adult courses, one child course and two demo courses. According to the website, “The course is set in several acres of forest and is suspended between the trees at 10-50 feet off the ground.” The challenge level of the courses is color coded, ranging from green (Discovery), blue (Sensation), silver (Adrenaline), red (Emotion) and black (No Limit). The yellow course is for children, and there are also two parallel 450 foot zip lines.

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Kelcia Beato experiences the thrills of being on the obstacle course.
Now in its fourth season, the course has grown tremendously. “We get 25,000 -30,000 people come in per season,” said Johnson. And Adirondack Extreme has a great track record when it comes to keeping its customers safe. “We’ve had around 100,000 people come visit us, and there’s been not one injury. You get a few bumps and bruises, maybe a finger pinch from the zip line, but that’s it. Our insurance company is very happy with us,” said Johnson with a laugh. Johnson attributesthis to their great staff.

“We have two different kinds of guides: the regular and rescue. The rescue team is there if anyone needs to be lowered from the course,” said Johnson. Staff goes through four-day, eight-hour training before working on the course. They also are all CPR-certified and have to take a written and physical exam. Nick Francio has been a guide for three years.

“I chose to work here because all my friends were, and it’s a cool place to work. It’s also great because I get to go on the course every day.”

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Friends encourage Drew Fretwell to finish the course.

Adirondack Extreme is open from the beginning of April to the end of November. According to Johnson, the weather doesn’t have much effect on the foot traffic. “The obstacle course is made for the elements. The wood is untreated, and we’ve never had any fallen trees,” said Johnson. “We do annual maintenance. Additions and modifications are done at the end of November.”

When asked what his favorite moment of working in Adirondack Extreme was, Johnson couldn’t think of one specific incident. “We started with four adult courses, one child course and one demo course. Now we have five adult courses, one child course and two demo courses.

The course is also expanding with a change coming every season. Johnson added matter-of-factly, “We have to stay ahead of the game.”


What was your experience on an obstacle course?

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