Fright Nights at Playland

It’s Halloween time again. That means it’s also time for the spooktacular Fright Nights at Playland! With 20 rides (5 more than last year), 8 haunted houses, live shows and an ensemble of roving actors, it’s a full evening of freakish entertainment.

2016 was our very first Fright Nights experience. Check out our POV video below.


Susannah and I had Rapid Passes which gave us expedited access to each of the haunted houses and 5 of the most popular rides at Playland (The Beast, Hellevator, Atmosfear, Music Express, and the Wooden Roller Coaster). It was very crowded so it was awesome to be able to by-pass the long lineups. With almost no wait time we were able to get on all 5 rides, plus The Corkscrew, Hell’s Gate, and Crazy Beach Party, as well as see all the haunted houses.

The rides were awesome and by the end of the evening we were pretty hoarse from shrieking – in fun and fear.  The Beast is touted as Canada’s most extreme pendulum ride, and it really was extreme! We sat in the outward facing seats and held on for dear life! We were actually shaking from the adrenaline rush when we got off the ride. The Wooden Roller Coaster was bone-rattling fun and we enjoyed it much more than we were expecting. Built in 1958 this famous ride can only be described as an oldie but a goodie. After the ride, check out the photos taken on the second drop – the range of facial expressions is good for a laugh (I looked ridiculous!). Another favourite was Atmosfear which is a giant 360-degree swing 218 feet up in the sky. Oddly enough, being so high wasn’t scary and the views of the city were incredible, making this ride very enjoyable.

The Haunted Houses were fun. Keeper’s Doll Factory and the Haunted Mansion were my personal favourites but Fear was pretty good too. With the variety of houses, there’s pretty much something for everyone on the spectrum of fear. This year a new house, The Bloodshed, has been added.

Fright Nights at Playland is great fun for young and old. The Rapid Passes were awesome to have and we’d highly recommend them if you are short on time or (like us) hate lining up for things. This year Fright Nights runs on select dates from October 6-31. Check out the calendar here.

Go. Have Fun. Be Scared.

Climbing the Sea to Sky Via Ferrata

What is Via Ferrata? Via Ferrata is Italian for “iron road” and essentially it is a vertical route equipped with anchored rungs and steel cables to aid climbers. This allows inexperienced or new climbers (that’s us!) to explore alpine regions and steep scenic areas that would usually be inaccessible.

We were lucky enough to experience the Via Ferrata with Mountain Skills Academy at the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish.

We didn’t really know what to expect when we booked our Via Ferrata experience, and truth be told, I was a little nervous. I’m pretty open to new adventures and I like hiking, but climbing kind of freaks me out. It’s not the climb, it’s gravity and the thought of falling.

Here’s the great thing about Via Ferrata – this style of climbing uses a system of lanyards attached to steel cables which effectively limits the danger of a fall. Whenever you reach an anchored pole, you unhook one carabiner and clip it back onto the cable on the other side of the pole before unhooking the second carabiner. This double clip system means you should always be connected to the cable at all times.

What was it like? Here is a video of our experience – footage shot on a GoPro attached to my helmet.

A synopsis of the climb: We met our guide, Lora, at the top of the gondola where we were fitted with climbing harnesses, helmets and lanyards. Then it was a short hike down the track to the beginning of the Via Ferrata. Lora explained how the system worked and answered our questions and then it was time to climb.

The route started off gently enough and was more of a hike than a climb as we gently traversed around the side of the mountain. This was a good opportunity to get comfortable with the lanyard and carabiner system.

Things got much more vertical once we reached the first ladder.

Our guide Lora making it look so easy!
Yes, I am having fun!

There were just the two of us on our tour which meant we were able to go at our own pace. There was plenty of time to enjoy a few unusual rest stops along the way.

Just chilling on the edge

And take in the views.

Looking towards Sky Pilot Mountain

Once we had conquered the vertical parts, the terrain leveled out quite a bit. Our legs were happy about that! We hiked across a footbridge and around the mountain towards the Summit Lodge. We came up under the suspension bridge and had made it – finishing our climb back at the top.

Yes, we did get very hot and our hands were very dirty from the cables, but the sense of achievement was awesome!

After getting cleaned up, we enjoyed a well-deserved beer on the patio and took in the amazing view before taking the gondola back down.

Mountain Skills Academy have many tours available, including 2 Via Ferrata adventures in BC; this one near Squamish and a 4-hour climb in Whistler. If you are curious but have any reservations about fitness level or ability, we’d recommend trying the Squamish one first. The climb takes about 1.5 hours and for a novice, it’s challenging but not too difficult. The experience is exhilarating and the views are spectacular.

Via Ferrata is a unique and fun adventure. We are really glad we did it and hope to do the Whistler Via Ferrata someday as well.

Let us kow if you’ve tried it too.