More reasons to visit Vancouver, Washington

Olympic bungee

Mom slept in, but I skipped out before breakfast for a hike up Treasure Hill. I met up with some dog walkers, but mostly I had the trail to myself. As I climbed above the little valley of Park City, the clear mountain air made the golden aspens sparkle.

After more tea and toast, we headed out to Utah Olympic Park. Built for the 2002 Winter Olympics, the complex sits high on a hill 5 miles northwest of town. We’d picked up a coupon for a free guided tour (normally $2) at the park’s Alf Engen Ski Museum. “And look,” I squealed at my mom, “we can try the aerial bungee!” I imagined us doing flips in the air. She gave me one of those killer mom looks that said, “No way. Not ever. No discussion needed.”

On the guided bus tour, we gained new appreciation for Olympic downhill ski jumpers: Those hills are high! The Olympic Park’s jump sites are―at 7,310 feet above sea level―the highest in the world. We watched athletes practicing on watered-down slopes, and our guide said most jumpers retire by the age of 20, because by that ripe age their joints can’t take the stress anymore. Yowch.


All through lunch at the on-site Big Air Grill, I worked on my mom. “C’mon, when is another time you’ll get to try the aerial bungee?” I took her outside to watch the jumpers practicing flips and turns on the water ramp, then had to practically drag her down the hill to the bungee station. Finally, I threatened: “I won’t go on anymore trips with you unless you at least try it.”

She was still looking for an out. “Are you sure you’re allowed to let old ladies like me do this?” my mother asked the young worker as she hooked us up to harnesses and strings. “Sure. I’ve had lots of people even older than you try it,” the girl said.

Once strapped in and made lightweight by the elastic bands, we started jumping. It was a little like being weightless. We bounced up to 10 feet in the air, catching a glimpse of the mountain peaks and landing on a cushy inflated mattress to spring up in the air again. For a minute, I felt like a kid jumping on one of those inflated castles that used to be all the rage―but now I was jumping a lot higher. And getting a better view. I somersaulted and backflipped. It was breathtaking, literally―after about 10 minutes, we were both panting.

As we walked away, catching our breath, my mom sighed. “What?” I asked.

“I want to go back,” Mom said. “I should have done a flip.”

Treasure Hill

Utah Olympic Park
Guided tour, with coupon

Big Air Grill
Burgers and soda

Aerial bungee
Jumping high with Mom


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