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Ultimate Challenge Course (UCC)

This is an excerpt from Get-Outside Guide to Winter Activities, The by Andrew Foran,Kevin Redmond & TA Loeffler.

This activity fosters imagination and provides a challenge. Be creative and work with what you have; this is about making junk worthwhile. And because it's junk, you don't have to worry about leaving it out between groups.

Age or Grade Level

All ages can play, but the design needs to be age appropriate.

Number of Participants

Any number of participants; this can be a large-group or small-group activity


  • Lots of stuff!
  • Pylons
  • Plastic flexible tubing 2.5 cm (1 in.) in diameter
  • Hula hoops
  • Piles of snow
  • Logs 122 cm (4 ft) in length
  • Plastic sonotubes for tunnels, 91.4 cm (3 ft) or 122 cm (4 ft) in diameter and whatever length you can get (at least 2 m is good)
  • Old tires


This activity is basically a giant obstacle course to be completed on snowshoes. One sample course layout is shown in figure 6.2, but that's just one of a million possibilities; let your imagination run wild! We like to start the group outside and away from the UCC, preferably in front of a large snowbank, such as those at the edges of parking lots. We make sure the participants move toward the UCC and not toward the parking area - and leave a GO leader to monitor this area.

Figure 6.2 A suggested layout for an ultimate challenge course.
A suggested layout for an ultimate challenge course.

How to Lead

Following is a suggestion for a bare-bones UCC. Use your imagination to make use of items at your disposal.

  • Participants climb the large (parking lot) snowbank without snowshoes, slide down the other side, and run about 15 m to the UCC entrance.
  • When they arrive, they are blindfold by a GO leader. They then make their way to the snowshoe pile (a random mix) and strap a pair to their feet (this pile is about 15 m from the entrance).
  • They then snowshoe run back to the GO leader, return the blindfold, and run to the up-and-down portion: pylons are cemented into the snow with a plastic tubing stuck in the top to make archways they must go through.
  • They jump over the next pile of snow (running jumps are encouraged).
  • They then roll into and out of a trench.
  • The next challenge is foxholes. Participants start in the first foxhole, lift one leg, twist, and plant it in the next hole; they do the same with the second leg, continuing until all the foxholes are cleared.
  • At the tire station, participants roll or carry a medium-size truck tire across the snow and swap it with a large truck tire that they must bring back - either rolling or carrying.
  • Next are at least two tunnels to crawl through.
  • At the island hop, participants hop from hula hoop to hula hoop until they reach a sled.
  • With the sled, participants haul a GO leader back to the entrance of the UCC.


  • Mix and match the obstacles - this is about imagination!
  • Participants who are not comfortable wearing a blindfold can spot at locations along the UCC.

Safety Consideration

  • Make sure the challenge is age appropriate and matches participants' physical abilities. Remember, this is not boot camp or a preschool for a Navy Seals winter brigade.


Learn more about The Get Outside Guide to Winter Activities.

More Excerpts From Get Outside Guide to Winter Activities