Challenge Courses

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Bonsai Design’s Challenge Courses are a classic addition to any adventure business, and our customized designs stem from unsurpassed depth of experience in the industry. Our founder started off as a participant back in the late 1980’s, and we have been innovating ever since. These innovations allow individuals or groups to test emotional and physical strength on various rope courses, stand-alone events, and towers built to challenge all categories of participants. Our Challenge Courses are custom designed to your specific program needs, combining high and low features for maximum versatility.

Bonsai Challenge Courses strengthen the bonds among teams and test the personal limits of individuals as well. Our customized programs provide both individual participants and groups opportunities to develop within a unique and aesthetically inspiring environment. Challenge Courses continue to be a dynamic addition to any outdoor program, and Bonsai has longevity in the industry to design and install the best.

Your course will offer users the opportunity for growth in many areas including:

  • Cooperation
  • Decision making
  • Self confidence
  • Positive risk taking
  • Social cohesion
  • Trust
  • Self esteem
  • Leadership
  • Goal setting
  • Teamwork

Bonsai Challenge Courses appeal to participants of all ability levels and focus on the inward challenge more than physical demands. Bonsai will design a custom course in harmony with your program goals and the environment it is built in. Versatile and appealing to all abilities, Challenge Courses are focused more on empowerment than excitement.

Design Methods

  • Minimal hardware and sleek attachment techniques
  • All courses designed with simple yet precise engineering
  • Environmentally friendly – built with sustainable materials
  • Each tree course is built with low-impact, long-lasting terminations

Course Types

  • Linear Courses: Great for keeping large groups moving. Participants work their way through a series of elements, exiting via a zip line, a swing, or a lower-off.
  • Hub & Spoke Courses: Participants can choose from a variety of options from the “hub” events. Great for groups of varying ability.
  • Stand-Alone Events: Elements such as the Flying Squirrel, Cat Walk and Pamper Pole will challenge individual participants before the group moves on to the next element in the course.
  • Combination Courses: Climbing towers, vertical high ropes course elements, and horizontal traverses can be integrated into your course.
  • Instructor or participant belay.

Installing a High Ropes Course

High ropes courses can be installed on mature trees, utility poles / steel poles, indoors, or any combination of the three.

  • Trees. Bonsai Design is unsurpassed in arboreal experience. Tree courses are our preferred choice because of their environmental and aesthetic appeal. Mature trees with a stable root system provide options that would be very costly on courses using poles or other materials. We design around and within existing trees on your site to keep the natural beauty, using the trees as structural elements without harming them. Read more about our unique tree installation methods below.
  • Poles. Where trees are unavailable, utility poles provide an affordable alternative. Ranging from 30 to 60 feet in height, poles offer the ability to fully customize the design and layout of a course. Read more about our pole-based installation methods below.
  • Indoors. Many high ropes elements can be attached to load bearing walls or roof trusses of existing buildings. Free-standing courses can be built on steel framing.

Installing on Trees

The installation to trees is often much less damaging to the natural environment, as the trees are already in place and do not require the use of heavy equipment or ground clearing. The movement and swaying of trees is one attribute of a healthy forest. Trees sway back and forth, and we make sure to rig trees to allow for that natural movement. Many of our courses are more than ten years old, giving us significant experience with healthy, thriving tree courses.

  • We focus on the health of the trees and preservation of the site’s natural beauty
  • The trees are rigged carefully to ensure minimal intrusion and damage
  • The trees are pruned free of all dead limbs and guyed off if necessary
  • No staples are used unless totally necessary, and minimal hardware is installed at each tree
  • We follow professional arborist techniques strictly, providing you the best in tree services. This includes understanding the seasonal restrictions for installations to certain trees.

Installing on Poles

Utility poles provide a good solution where adequate trees are not available or not in the location you would like to build the course. With poles we can carefully customize the placement of all elements and precisely control the design of the course.

  • Sites will require a cleared area for heavy equipment
  • Sites will be chosen for minimal damage to surrounding trees’ root structures
  • Delivery of poles usually occurs in advance
  • Poles must be installed using heavy equipment, on fairly level ground
  • We follow professional arborist techniques strictly, providing you the best in tree services for all involved trees
  • Installation requires an assessment and plan for ensuring that the environment can return to its original state

Types of Belay Systems

  • Smarty Belay
  • Continuous Belay
  • Dynamic Belay

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