Adventure Team Challenge

Inclusive Team Challenges for Exceptional Athletes

Adventure Team Challenge climb.

A team climbs a steep hill at the Adventure Team Challenge. Photograph copyright 2011, Tom Nardi.

The Adventure Team Challenge Changes Lives through Team Competition and Cooperation

From Colorado to New York, the Adventure Team Challenge from World T.E.A.M. Sports is a series of outdoor adventure events that bring together teams of athletes with disabilities with able-bodied athletes.

Challenge events in Colorado, New York and suburban Washington D.C. offer participants opportunities to experience outdoor sports. For many exceptional athletes with disabilities, participating in a team challenge offers a chance to explore our natural world, from paddling on lakes and rivers to hiking and biking through deep woods to climbing high mountains and jagged rocks. The Adventure Team Challenge inspires.

In September 2015, Experience the Thrill of Colorado’s Adventure Team Challenge

Get ready for the adventure of your lifetime. In September 2015, the Adventure Team Challenge Colorado will return. Created and managed by the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports, the Adventure Team Challenge in Colorado’s rugged and wild Gore Range north of Eagle brings together disabled and able-bodied athletes for three days of spirited team competition. Directed by experienced adventure athletes, participants in the Challenge can expect rafting, hiking, mountain biking, climbing, and other exciting outdoor activities, along with good fellowship, food and tent camping underneath the brilliant Milky Way of the high Rocky Mountains.

Challenge teams compete mostly against the clock in this event, as finishing all stages is an accomplishment in itself. There is also pride in claiming the title as the Adventure Team Challenge champion by finishing the stages in the shortest time. Along the way, participants are challenged both physically and mentally, and learn that innovation and teamwork are the keys to success.

Adventure Team Challenge 2014 LogoDebuting in 2007 as the Real Deal Inclusive Sports Adventure, the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge was presented by Pearl Meyer & Partners. It inspired and challenged athletes of all abilities. With each team of five including two athletes with disabilities, one being a wheelchair user, the Challenge provided an opportunity for competitors to work together toward shared goals and rewards.

Since the first Challenge in June 2007, each Challenge has been hosted in Colorado. The 2007-2011 and 2014 Challenges were held in the high mountains near Rancho del Rio along the Colorado River north of Eagle and south of Leadville along the Arkansas River. In 2012 and 2013, the Challenge was held in the scenic McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area west of Grand Junction.

In its ninth year of competition, the 2015 Challenge will provide participants with new challenges in the secluded and beautiful peaks and canyons of metamorphic schist and gneiss of Colorado’s high Park Range. Seasoned adventure athletes, weekend warriors and desk jockeys desiring adventure will be tested at altitudes up to 8,000 feet above sea level. Teammates will need to join together to innovate and solve problems through tackling physical challenges to successfully complete this wilderness course. Participants will build camaraderie and celebrate diversity, cheering each other as they successfully negotiate each obstacle. Magnificent mountain terrain, dark and forbidding canyons, icy snow-fed rivers and inspiring competitors will create an unforgettable experience for all participants.

Explore the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado event page.

The Adventure Team Challenge New York Challenges Young Developmentally-Disabled Adults

World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inclusive Adventure Team Challenge at Harris, New York September 18-20, 2014 engages developmentally disabled teens and young adults from New York and New Jersey in an epic weekend of competitive team sporting events.

2011 team members hold the banner.

Team members from the 2011 Adventure Team Challenge New York hold the event banner. World T.E.A.M. Sports archive photograph.

Sponsored by American Portfolios Financial Services Inc. and The Center for Discovery, this inclusive Challenge provides an opportunity for the developmentally disabled to solve sporting challenges. Each participating team will work together to successfully complete each stage of the multisport event to cross the finish line together. Held at Center for Discovery in Harris, New York, the participating teams in the Challenge include four athletes with disabilities with six to eight able-bodied coaches. Through inclusive competition, disabled participants build confidence and serves as a role model for others, as well as inspiring all competitors and spectators.

Adventure Team Challenge New YorkThe 2014 Adventure Team Challenge New York will begin with a Relay-Obstacle Course Challenge and camping under the stars. The following day, participants will be shuttled to Morningside Park for a Regatta Challenge in kayaks while those that remain on site will participate in the Track & Field Challenge with bicycles, running, hurdles and other activities. The day is finished off with a puzzling Orienteering Challenge and an awards ceremony for all athletes.

Since the inaugural Challenge in 2010, 20 developmentally disabled athletes from The Center for Discovery have participated each year.

“When you have the opportunity to spend two or three days with the exceptional athlete in a World T.E.A.M. event, you look beyond the wheelchair, beyond their physical and emotional challenges, and see the human being looking right back at you,” said the Challenge organizer Lon Dolber, the CEO and President of American Portfolios. “You recognize all that is possible within yourself.”

Explore the 2013 New York photo gallery.

Adventure Team Challenge Washington DC Brings Adventure to the City

Adventure Team Challenge DC LogoFor participants of the Adventure Team Challenge Washington DC, outside adventure is just outside the city. In the 2011 and 2013 DC Challenges, developmentally-disabled children traveled to the scenic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park along the Potomac River, just west of Washington. Here, the teens were matched with able-bodied athletes who provided assistance and support in activities that included canoeing, mountain biking and hiking.

Participants will again take to the trails and the canal of the National Historical Park in the 2014 Adventure Team Challenge Washington DC on Saturday, July 19.

Learn more about the Washington DC Challenge.

Support of Adventure Team Challenge Colorado

“Throughout our history, Alteryx has evolved from a product-based company to one that values our ongoing relationship with customers. Participating in the Adventure Team Challenge was a perfect way to learn from amazing people how to create an exceptional community. By fielding a team, we discovered that showing up, participating with a full heart and finishing together is what transforms ordinary individuals into extraordinary heroes and ultimately creates a community of solution providers, and this continues to inspire our shared ingenuity. ”

Ned Harding, CTO, Alteryx, team participant.

Riders at the 2011 Adventure TEAM Challenge.

Riders cross rugged terrain during the 2011 Adventure Team Challenge. Photograph copyright Tom Nardi, 2011.

“ATC allowed me to really push my limits both physically and mentally. Our team was forced to deal with situations that were unforeseen and out of the ordinary which created even a deeper team bond. Both myself and my team left ATC feeling stronger then when we arrived, and had already began planning for the next year.”

Sgt. Neil Duncan, double-leg-amputee, team participant.

“The ATC gives people the inspiration to achieve, no matter what the obstacles are, and to live life no matter what. It shows others what can be done and gives them the confidence to do the unthinkable. This confidence and inspiration is not just for the disabled, but even more so for all of us.”

- Nino Pozgaj, 2010-11 team participant, Alteryx.

“I have been fascinated by adventure sports, but in a wheelchair, it didn’t seem likely that I could ever participate. The Real Deal was beyond my wildest dreams. It was amazing to see an event absolutely integrated, with able-bodied and people with different disabilities and everyone working together seamlessly. It gave a whole new meaning to the word teamwork. It forced me to reframe things I’ve learned. I didn’t want to be pushed or pulled on my mountain bike. But, I realized that the smart teams worked together on the uphills, with a tandem bike pulling a hand bike. My pride was costing me and my team time. It was a complete, and welcome paradigm shift in my thinking. We all got a chance to be real. It was magic.”

Bob Vogel, freelance journalist, photographer, professional ski instructor, disabled athlete and team participant about the 2008 Real Deal, precursor to the Adventure Team Challenge.

“The beauty of adventure racing is that there are no superstars; everyone on the team plays an integral role and has to cross the finish line together. Everybody has moments when they suffer and are in pain, moments when they need help to keep going, and moments when they shine. The best teams are those which can tap into the talents of each member and find a collective team strength which becomes bigger than its parts.”

Erik Weihenmayer, blind adventurer, team participant, 2007-2012.

A New Champion at the 2013 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado

Adventure TEAM Challenge 2013 Logo

The high Colorado Plateau west of Grand Junction served as the site for the 2013 Adventure Team Challenge, held in mid-September.

Team Berserkers on Sunday.

The Benson Botsford Berserkers were champions of the 2014 Challenge. Photograph by Brian Gliba.

With the Lumber Liquidators team sitting out the competition in 2013, the race was wide open for a new champion. The Boulder, Colorado-based Benson Botsford Berserkers accepted the challenge, having had a strong finish in 2012. In their third year of competition, the Berserkers took control of the Challenge during the Prologue and never looked back.

For many of the teams participating in the Challenge, simply finishing was an accomplishment worth celebrating. Learning to work with one another, utilizing unique skills and the available tools to successfully find the route and conquer challenges, all finished.

Cover 2013 Adventure TEAM Challenge Participant GuideDownload the PDF format 2013 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Participant Guide.

Lumber Liquidators Again Champions at the 2012 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado

The Adventure Team Challenge returned May 18-20, 2012 in the spectacular red rock canyons west of Grand Junction, Colorado. Presented by Alteryx, the 2012 event featured the same exciting and inspiring competition as in past events, but in an all-new high desert environment.

ATC 2012 LogoFeaturing two military teams and the event’s first all-woman team, the 2012 Challenge included five athletes per team, of which two were disabled. One member in each of the teams was a wheelchair user, requiring teammates to pull, push, carry and assist the athlete through a rugged course featuring mountain biking, hiking, river rafting, orienteering, climbing and rappelling.

For Denver-based Team Lumber Liquidators, the unfamiliar terrain and various challenges – including roping with a lasso and fixing a flat – provided small margin for error. At the end of the three day event, the winning team had only a 61 minute lead on their closest competitor, the first-year Team Fire Strategies, a team of firefighters based in Colorado Springs.

Lumber Liquidators Team - 2012

The Lumber Liquidators Team runs during stage one of the 2012 Adventure Team Challenge. Photograph copyright 2012, Tom Nardi.

Sponsored by Alteryx, a software development and services company headquartered in Irvine, California, the Challenge provided an opportunity for participating teams to work together and creatively solve challenges and problems through cooperation and support. In each participating team, the skills and determination of the disabled athletes usually provided the key in clearing a challenge. This included blind adventurer Erik Weihenmayer, of Team Lumber Liquidators, who successfully solo climbed a difficult sandstone rock with a top rope. With his team mates guiding him on from below, Erik’s ascent was one of the highlights of the Challenge.

For all of the participating teams, however, simply finishing the Challenge was a success. Exploring the red sandstone high desert of the region, rafting the Colorado River, and participating in group meals at the Bureau of Land Management’s Rabbit Valley campsite, individual athletes experienced the benefits of working together as teams and overcoming adversity. Able-bodied participants were inspired by their disabled colleagues, and those athletes with disabilities showed themselves that they can excel in a competitive wilderness adventure.

In a weekend bracketed by a stinging desert sandstorm and a solar eclipse, the participants of the sixth annual Adventure Team Challenge learned that by using ingenuity, cooperation and hard work that the ultimate team adventure can be successfully met by all competitors.

Rancho del Rio Hosts the 2011 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado

Riders 2011 Adventure TEAM Challenge

Riders at the 2011 Adventure Team Challenge. Photograph copyright Tom Nardi, 2011.

The 2011 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado, presented by Alteryx, was a powerful event. A three-day, multisport adventure race along the Colorado River near scenic Eagle, Colorado, the Adventure Team Challenge Colorado teamed able-bodied with disabled athletes to mountain bike, white-water raft, run, zip line, climb and rappel, while navigating the rugged high country wilderness.

Building on the success of previous challenges, the 2011 course was not for the faint of heart. From seasoned adventure athletes to weekend warriors and desk jockeys desiring adventure, this race was designed to challenge and to excite. Participants joined with their teammates to compete in the ultimate team adventure. They met challenges, built camaraderie and celebrated diversity by working together to overcome obstacles. Magnificent terrain, big mountains, icy water and inspiring competitors provided an event that will be long remembered.

At the end, the Lumber Liquidators team held off all challengers for their third consecutive championship. Though the team failed to win the second stage of the challenge – being defeated in an exciting rafting finish – they had built a significant lead on the first stage to claim the championship. All teams completed the challenge, an incredible accomplishment.

Exploring the Arkansas River Valley at the 2010 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado

2010 Adventure TEAM Challenge

The victorious Team Lumber Liquidators at the 2010 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado finish. World T.E.A.M. Sports photograph.

In June 2010, Leadville, Colorado hosted World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ Adventure Team Challenge Colorado. The most exciting to date with only 29 minutes separating the top three teams following two full days of competition, the 2010 Challenge offered new challenges requiring innovation and cooperation. The defending champion, Team Lumber Liquidators, found the new course challenging, and led by only six minutes after the first day.

Many competing teams focused on overtaking Team Lumber Liquidators on the second day. The participants awoke Sunday to perfect, sunny skies, cool temperatures and intense competition by determined teams. The zip line was dramatic, the mountain biking along an abandoned 19th century stagecoach trail was difficult enough that carrying bikes was a frequent choice, and the Arkansas River was fast, cold and huge. When everyone reached the final river crossing and the final bike stage, the finish line was a welcome sight.

In the end, the Lumber Liquidators team of Sarah Will, Erik Weihenmayer, Rob Harsh, Skyler Williams & Scott Swaney successfully defended their 2009 title just 24 minutes ahead of TEAM Cisco, and 29 minutes before TEAM Alteryx, a first-year team.

Adventure Team Challenge Media

Rafting at the 2011 Adventure Team Challenge.

Rafting on the Colorado River at the 2011 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado. Photograph copyright Tom Nardi.

Challenge Photo Galleries

2013 World T.E.A.M. Sports Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Flickr image gallery.

2013 Brian Gliba Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Flickr image gallery.

2013 Van Brinson Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Prologue SmugMug image gallery.

2013 Van Brinson Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Stage One SmugMug image gallery.

2013 Van Brinson Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Stage Two SmugMug image gallery.

2012 World T.E.A.M. Sports Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Flickr image gallery.

2012 Peter Wayne Adventure Team Challenge Colorado image gallery.

2012 Tom Nardi Adventure Team Challenge Colorado image gallery.

2012 Colorado Adaptive Sports Adventure Team Challenge Colorado image gallery.

2012 Alteryx Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Flickr Galleries – Prologue | Camp | Day 1 – Hike | Day 1 – River | Day 2 – Bike | Day 2 – Climb | Day 2 – Rappel

2011 World T.E.A.M. Sports Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Flickr image gallery.

2011 Alteryx Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Flickr image gallery, including images from several photographers.

2011 Team Crump Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Picasa image gallery.

2011 Prouty Project Adventure Team Challenge Colorado YouTube image montage.

2011 Tom Nardi Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Shutterfly image gallery.

2011 Team Atlas Adventure Team Challenge Colorado YouTube video.

2010 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Flickr image gallery.

2010 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Peter Wayne Photography Smugmug image gallery.

2010 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Wayne Moore Galleries: Friday | Saturday | Sunday

2009 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Shutterfly image galleries.

Adventure Team Challenge Colorado Media Coverage

Explore media reports about the Adventure Team Challenge events at the World T.E.A.M. Sports Press by Event pages.2008 Real Deal Logo

Learn more about the 2008 Real Deal Inclusive Sports Adventure, the predecessor to the Adventure Team Challenge Colorado at the Denver Post, and at AXS Vail Valley. NBC Sports’ World of Adventure Sports featured the event in November, 2008.

Explore the 2007 Real Deal Photo Gallery, featuring images by Don Patterson.

2007 Real Deal Shutterfly image gallery.

The inspiration of the Adventure Team Challenge Colorado

Video by Andrew Bishop.

Video courtesy Harry Carr, Harry’s Adventures.

World T.E.A.M. Sports 2012 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado video.

Video courtesy Team Atlas Shrugged/Topher Downham.

Video courtesy Alteryx, Inc..

Video courtesy Topher Downham.

Video courtesy Alteryx, Inc..

Video courtesy Alteryx, Inc..

The 2010 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado.

The 2009 Adventure Team Challenge Colorado.