- Tim Bergsten
- Bridget Praytor reaches for the top of the warped wall at the Springs Ninja Warrior Course.
There was lots of action at the Springs Trampoline Park last week. A recent snowstorm had left playgrounds covered in slush and mud, and the big indoor facility provided a nice option for the parents of rowdy kids on Christmas break.
Everybody caught some big air and gleeful noises filled the building, which contains about 15,000 square feet of trampoline jumping fun.
And then in walked the Ninjas, as lean and muscular as Olympic athletes. They had come for one reason. The Springs Trampoline Park has built something called the Springs Ninja Warrior Course, not unlike the obstacle courses on the TV show American Ninja Warrior, watched by millions of viewers each week.
"The Ninja course is challenging," says Bridget Praytor, a mother of five and an American Ninja. "This is unlike anything I've ever done before. It's very humbling, and I'm always challenged to get over the next obstacle."
The course is 100 feet long, stretching from the front to the back of the building at 2512 Airport Road, about a half-mile east of Prospect Lake. Springs Trampoline Park manager Isaac Brandon proposed the idea to the business owners, who didn't hesitate to give the project a thumbs up.
Brandon was inspired by the homemade Ninja equipment built by Suzanne Himka. An accomplished Ninja Warrior, Himka hosts Ninja course camps for kids.
"We wanted to add variety for families in the area," Brandon says. "Something more than trampolines. We have future plans for more variety items, and this is just one of them. I met with Suzanne quite a while ago, watched her summer camp and loved it.
"The physical fitness part of it, getting the kids out and being active, is really important. Our owners decided to look at it, and six months ago we put the plan in motion."
It is currently the only facility of its kind in Colorado.
Himka, a former gymnast, American Gladiator and many-time Mud Run finisher, plans to move her kids camps to the facility. She hopes to benefit both businesses and build community among Ninja and obstacle racers in the region. And there are more than a few. Obstacle course racing is one of the fastest-growing outdoor sports among weekend warriors and professionals. The Spartan Race and Warrior Dash series have created a new breed of athlete seeking back-breaking challenges and the opportunity to win prize money.
Those who follow the American Ninja Warrior show also know "The Wolfpack," Ian Dory, Brian Arnold and Noah Kaufman, a group of badass Ninjas from Fort Collins. The new course in Colorado Springs garnered approval from the Wolf Pack at last week's grand opening.
Here's the basic rundown on the course. If you dig an upper-body workout, this deal is perfect.
It begins with six tricky "wedge steps" that require long strides off of parallel platforms. Think about running down your hallway while planting your feet on the walls only, and bounding from side to side.
Then comes a wall that must be scaled, followed by a "balance beam" that is really a pipe bent in a serpentine configuration. Don't fall off.
A "rings crossing" like the old monkey bars from grade school — only much more difficult — comes next. About the time your arms want to fall off, you get the "rope swing," which requires overall strength and coordination, but you can use your legs and rest your arms for a bit, which is good, because there is one more swing through the "nun-chuck" station.
It all finishes with the "warped wall." Run as fast as you can and scale the wall — there are different heights for different sizes.
Mike Carl, a park employee, stood by to help the first-time customers. A former football player at Adams State University, he completed the whole course in about 40 seconds.
"You compete against the course, but you can never master the course," he says.
Don't worry about falling. There are thick mats and soft landing places to catch you.
For more info, check out springstp.com/ninja-warrior-course. Cost is $14 an hour and that includes the trampolines. And if you're a parent who wants to score major points, birthday parties for 10 run $250.