Building A New Challenge Course

challenge course ropes
Korey on the rope net – the entrance to the challenge course !

Over the winter break when rafting and ziplining slow down in WNC, Mitch and Korey Hampton and Zipline Course Lead Builder, Whitney Heuermann, were brought on to assist Phoenix Experiential Designs of Boone, NC with building a challenge course in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Phoenix Experiential Designs is one of an elite few companies that is designated as a PVM (Professional Vendor Member) with the ACCT (Association for Challenge Course Technology). They are certified to design, build, inspect, and train on ziplines and aerial adventure courses

Challenge course
Mitch, Ezra Knight of Phoenix, Korey, Whitney, and Robbie Oates – Owner of Phoenix. Finished challenge course in the background.

The Owner of Phoenix, Robert (Robbie) Oates, hired Whitney, Mitch and Korey after seeing the work they did building the French Broad Adventures course, which Robbie inspects every year. This is the same company that hired Michael “Dub” Waters (our Site Manager) and Korey to do zipline guide trainings around the country. Whitney Heuermann has built ziplines all over the world, and he also does the rigging for the cameras/camera crew at The Olympics (which is very similar to ziplines, because it is done with overhead cables). This July he and his crew will be headed to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

The physical part of the project took 14 days on site to construct from start-to-finish – many days in advance were spent designing the course.

This challenge course was built for Greenbrier Outfitters, an outdoor recreation company that provides activities to guests of the Greenbrier Resort as well as to the general public in the area.


Some fun facts about Greenbrier Resort:

  • Challenge course
    Elements (or “obstacles”) on the course

    It opened in 1778

  • Before the Civil War, five sitting presidents stayed at the hotel
  • In the 1950s, the U.S. government approached The Greenbrier for assistance, this time in the construction of an Emergency Relocation Center, a bunker or bomb shelter, to be occupied by the U.S. Congress in case of war. The classified underground facility was built in conjunction with an above ground addition to the hotel, the West Virginia Wing. For thirty years the facility codenamed Project Greek Island was maintained at a constant state of operational readiness. It was decommissioned in 1992.

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