Zorbing, Horseshoe Valley, Barrie ON

A second sport that starts with “Z”!?

I am standing high atop Horseshoe resort, reflecting back on past Gymineer episodes, and thinking about how so many of them have had me pant-stainingly-nervous in the moments leading up to great adventure. “They’ve all worked out before” I tell myself, as I climb into a giant beach ball and get ready to be thrown down a ski hill.

This is called zorbing; it looks like Horseshoe Resort is one of the only places in Canada that offers it, and it really is as simple as climbing to the top of a ski hill, jumping into a giant ball of plastic, and rolling to the bottom.

Of course, by now you’re probably thinking “I bet New Zealand invented this”, and you’re totally right. The mountains there are plentiful, and I guess someone had an extra oversized beach ball lying around.

Actually, zorbing origin stories are hard to come by if you don’t do any research at all, but I assume that a younger sibling – tired of being rolled down a hill in a tire – decided to step things up a notch. I’ll also assume that “to zorb” is a Mauri adjective of some sort. There’s really no other way to explain this one.

In terms of burning calories – you’ll get your heart pumping with adrenaline, but you’re not exactly running the Boston Marathon here.  On second thought, if you’re walking up that hill under your own power, you’ve probably found a p-90x replacement.  Spinning end over end on a big enough hill, you may also  be able to lose some of those lunchtime calories before they’re even fully digested, though I’d hate to promote that sort of thing.

In all honesty it’s a ton of fun. I despise spinning and those damn “teacups” more than anyone, but I’d hop in a zorb and do this again. If you don’t feel like harnessing in the way we do in this video, you can also check out  hydro zorbing, where the inside of the ball has 6 inches of water in it, so that both you and the water stay in the lower half of the zorb the whole way down.

Safety Tips from Safety Jamie

You’re basically sitting inside the world’s largest airbag. You’ll be fine.