Cotopaxi’s Oktoberquest combines service and adventure

People carry a crowd-surfing llama at the Questival kick-off festival. (Ethan White)
People carry a crowd-surfing llama at the Questival kick-off festival in April. (Ethan White)

Thousands of people compete in the Cotopaxi Questival each spring, but Cotopaxi is introducing something new this fall: the Oktoberquest on Oct. 21-22.

The Cotopaxi Questival is a popular activity among young adults, according to the Cotopaxi website.

The Oktoberquest is similar to the normal Questival, which is a 24-hour adventure race to complete challenges, build friendships, experience surroundings and have fun.

Myranda Smith completes the Questival 'do good' challenge to give food to a homeless person. Questival is a 24-hour challenge adventure race that will be held on October 21-22. (Myranda Smith)
Myranda Smith completes the Questival ‘do good’ challenge to give food to a homeless person. Oktoberquest is a 24-hour challenge adventure race that will be held on Oct. 21-22. (Myranda Smith)

Participants are given a challenge list with more than 300 different items to complete within a 24-hour period. These challenges fall into a number of categories, from service to adventure and teamwork to food.

Each challenge item is assigned a different point value, and the team with the most points within the 24-hour period wins the Questival challenge. Each Cotopaxi racer also receives a Cotopaxi Luzon backpack for participating.

Anders Piiparinen is the social media and brand manager for Cotopaxi and a BYU graduate of the public relations program. Piiparinen said this is Cotopaxi’s first time doing Questival in the fall and the first time it has included fall-specific challenges such as corn mazes, haunted houses and jumping in piles of leaves.

Past challenge items have included hiking the Y, volunteering at a soup kitchen, doing random acts of kindness and taking a selfie with a llama, according to Piiparinen.

“Costumes are going to be a big part of it, as well as several haunted experiences. There will be an emphasis on the ‘do good’ parts of the challenge,” Piiparinen said. “Getting people outside, challenging themselves and doing good is really what it boils down to.”

Myranda Smith, a senior studying elementary education at BYU, said she has completed all three Questival challenge races in Utah. Oktoberquest will be her fourth challenge race.

Students wearing costumes prepare to compete in the Questival. (Ethan White)
Students wearing costumes prepare to compete in the Questival. (Ethan White)

“I’m excited for the fall twist on it, because I feel like I’ve known what I’ve gotten myself into with the last three Questival challenges,” Smith said. “I kinda don’t know what to expect for this one.”

Smith said one of her favorite previous challenges was stopping at a roadside diner at 10 p.m. She and her team enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the owners and their diner.

“That’s kinda what Questival is about—getting to know people and getting out there,” Smith said. “I wouldn’t have ever stopped at that diner if it weren’t for Questival.”

Smith, a North Carolina native, said Questival has helped her learn more about Utah. She mentioned many BYU students aren’t from Utah, so it allows them to experience the state in a different way.

Piiparinen said he hopes the event will give participants a greater sense of appreciation for the outdoors and the opportunities available within their own backyard.

“Every time we do this event, we get so many people who say ‘I never knew that this location was so close,’ or ‘I‘ve know that this thing was there, but I’ve never had the chance to see it,’ Piiparinen said. “If we want to spend our days sitting on the couch or bumming around, we can but there’s so much out there that the world has to offer.”

Myranda Smith (left) and teammate Wynne Harrison (right) at the pre-Questival event party last April. (Myranda Smith)

Ethan White, the field marketing manager for Cotopaxi, said college students are often surprised by how many things they can accomplish in the 24-hour challenge period.

“I think that’s the biggest takeaway for people. Students will say ‘I never had any idea I’d be able to do XYZ in 24 hours,'” White said. “We’ve had teams do some pretty wild stuff in 24 hours. They always find a way to challenge themselves.”

White said Questival is popular among college students because the nature of the challenge is conducive to college students’ lives.

“College students find themselves burning the midnight oil often, whether it be with friends on an adventure or studying hard in the library,” White said. “I think that the non-stop, 24-hour nature is super relatable to a college student.”

Smith said the Questival can be tricky to juggle with homework but it’s a sacrifice she’s willing to make.

“I’ve just been doing my homework ahead of time so I know I’ll be able to do it,” Smith said. “I just drop everything because I love Questival.”


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