It’s a slide, it’s a game, it’s SLIDEBOARDING, now open at select Great Wolf Lodge indoor water park resorts. On Saturday, June 27, Pennsylvania’s Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains resort unveiled its newest aqua-attraction Slideboarding, a water slide + video game mashup that challenges riders to hit buttons in time to lights inside the slide. I was on hand with my family to test out the innovative attraction; continue reading for our thoughts, photos, video, and review.
Slideboarding’s ride creator Denise Weston of WhiteWater West was inspired to create Slideboarding while watching her son (age 10 at the time). “They were doing one water park slide over and over again,” Weston explained,” and challenging each other to slap the joints of the slide for points.” A self-described “playologist,” the observation gave her the idea to use technology to mimic her son’s water park game in a safer way. A few years later, Slideboarding was born, and fit perfectly with Great Wolf Lodge’s brand. “We love to add unique experiences that both children and parents will not only enjoy, but that they can experience together,” added Susan Storey, Communications Director for Great Wolf Lodge.
At the Pocono Mountains resort, Slideboarding makes use of two slides already in place and fit the technology inside the existing attractions. Your ride vehicle (or Slideboard) is a smart board containing an embedded game controller and tracking system. Each rider registers at a kiosk, selects their preferred music soundtrack (an underrated feature of the ride), and receives a Slideboard personally linked to them.
3… 2… 1… GO! As you whisk through the twists and turns of the slide, LED light targets overhead signal you to hit the corresponding colored button on the handle of your Slideboard. Weston said, “the biggest challenge of the ride was creating a tracking system sensitive enough to give different levels of targets to hit.” Riders get increasing points for hitting the proper colored button as well as how close to the center bulls-eye of the target they come.
Splashdown! Head over to the screens at the slide exit, check your score, and see how you did against your friends, family, as well as the other riders at Great Wolf Lodge.
Slideboarding tracks your progress and scores over the course of your run, as well as multiple runs throughout your visit. In addition, the game system adapts and modifies as your skill improves and you “level up” progressing from Novice to Expert rider creating more difficult experiences and challenges.
Personally, for me, the best thing about Slideboarding was playing alongside my daughter. Evie would wait at the splash pool eagerly watching for my score. She didn’t care if she was first or last in the Top 10 as long as she was ahead of me on the scoreboard. Jessie Vandenhouten communications manager for Great Wolf Lodge noted the competitive aspect as well,
Our guests loved Slideboarding. They love challenging each other in the water park, and because Slideboarding shows how you rank among other guests, riders are constantly trying to beat not only their own score, but also their friends’ and family’s scores. Slideboarding keeps guests interested because the ride is different every time and the difficulty increases based on the rider’s level in the game.
Nearly 400 people took almost 700 rides on Slideboarding on opening day alone with one slider taking 28 trips down the flume en route to attaining level 39 and “leveling up” to the Pro Division.
The Slideboarding experience continues outside Great Wolf Lodge’s water park with a free game app for iOS and Google Play that allows you to play at home and posts scores on the Slideboarding website. “The app mimics the exact slide, lights, and buttons as the ride you experience in the park,” explained Weston, “and allows you to compete with players all over the world.” Weston talked about what’s next for Slideboarding including bringing all the top global players together for a tournament where they compete for charity, as well as allowing players of the app to interact and communicate with players in the park in real time. “In two years, virtual riders on the global app will be able to share Easter Eggs with actual riders in the parks to unlock codes for bonus points.”
In addition to the two Slideboarding experiences at Great Wolf Lodge Pocono Mountains, the Williamsburg resort will receive Slideboarding later this year. When asked if Slideboarding would roll out to every Great Wolf Lodge property Susan Storey replied, “while there are no plans to add Slideboarding to our other resorts, it’s still very early in this water game!”
You can also find Slideboarding at Wet’n’Wild Las Vegas (the first water park anywhere in the world to add the attraction) and future Slideboarding locations are coming to Colorado’s Water World, California’s Wild Water Adventure Park, and Alberta’s West Edmonton Mall in Canada.
It’s a brave new world combining electronics and technology in water based attractions, and as far as Slideboarding at Great Wolf Lodge goes our family gives it four soggy, waterlogged thumbs up.
DISCLOSURE: Our family was hosted by Great Wolf Lodge and received a complimentary stay in order to experience the Slideboarding attraction. However, all opinions expressed are those of the author. For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on Twitter and “like” our Facebook page, too.