So we all know kiwi’s are slightly off their rocker in a really cool way. And with kiwi’s I mean folk from New Zeeland. Certainly when it comes to outdoor and action sports, they are up there and coming up with crazy shizzle. From New Zeeland now comes the phenomenon of the adventure challenge. Just throw a lot of different action/outdoors sports together, don’t tell the participants exactly what is going to happen and there you guy. Hours of fun guaranteed. And until know the sport was really the domain of a niche of extreme athletes.
In Silkeborg Denmark the adventure set foot on land for the first time. Besides the elite athletes category, bringing teams of three athletes to the start only to arrive at the finish roughly 24 hours later, there were also two other categories, “a medium distance for experienced adventure racers and a shorter distance for anyone who just wants to try adventure racing.”. The medium distance would take close to 6 hours to complete, the short distance about 3.
In this version of the adventure race, athletes were faced with a challenge of running, mountain biking, orienteering (in and out of the water), swimming, kayaking, rafting, climbing, rapelling (52 meters high), SUP, even in-line skating and math challenges just to screw with the already exhausted mind. It took the athletes through the glorious nature around Silkeborg, but also through the city itself, entertaining the many locals that turned out to see what this was all about. The turn-out was also pretty good due to the participation of the crown prince of Denmark competing in the elite class.
Yeti, the sponsor of the Yeti Adventure Challenge, is well know for its very high-end down products. They call themselves the down specialist, and until know have focused primarily on production of extreme light weight, high performance and durable sleeping bags and down ackets. Amazing articles that we were able to feel and wear a bit during a behind the scenes excursion with fellow journalists. I asked Jesper Valbak, SalesManager for Nordisk/Yeti (Yeti is part of Nordisk) the reason for Yeti to get into sponsoring a race such as this:
“Through the years, many people competing at these adventures races and extreme sports asked us for this ultralight sleeping bag. It’s the lightest in the world, super packable, they can use it in these conditions. This audience uses already a few of our products, and with Nordisk we also have ultra light tents and such. So these products really move well together.” Looking around the show room in the Nordisk / Yeti HQ in Silkeborg, I am impressed by the fabulous products all around us. A Yeti sleeping bag weighing less than 300 grams, the Nordisk Telemark 2 person tent weighing in at just 880 grams; as a gear freak, I am enjoying myself tremendously.
“What we decided, coming from the down products we could add more active clothing within the clothing program. Until now you could never use any of our products during the race, during your
sport. We want a full focus on becoming active. The new collection for 2016 shows this. The collection is super stretchy, functional clothing, combined with our knowledge of down.” Jesper showed me the HY-FX Jacket, which I got to wear during a couple of hours next day. Check our separate preview of their Hybrid clothing program.
The Race as such is a part of the marketing effort surrounding the 2016 collection which will really take Yeti in a whole new direction. Emphasizing active clothing in combination with the ultra-light, packable, high-performance products. And based on what I saw in that show room, this collection will be amazing. Really great stuff.
I really enjoyed my time in Silkeborg, and checking the shorter distances I was considering competing next year. Because the race is really an adventure and expedition almost. Certainly for the elite class, staring on Friday evening doing a prologue between 19.00 en 21.30 in the evening, and starting with the main race on Saturday morning at 03:00 (am), finishing around 19.00 on Saturday evening. Quite the achievement if I may say so. I think this is just the start for this event, and the laid back but enthusiastic Danish crowd really helped kick off this new sport. My only point of critique would be that it was not easy to keep track of the race itself, though you could check standings etcetera on your phone quite easily. Primarily because the various disciplines are stretched out throughout the city and surrounding hills and rivers. It is the nature of the event itself, but with some smart thinking I could image that it would become even more spectator friendly.
The Adventure challenge in my opinion has a great growth potential as more and more people get in touch with it and start participating, not only competing per se: because if anything it is a challenge more than a race. Just participating and completing the challenge is an amazing achievement at various levels, and the joy of the participants were palpable, regardless of fatigue, throughout. That’s what action sports are all about! Thank you kiwi’s!