Questival, Cotopaxi’s 24-hour adventure challenge, took place this past weekend, uniting various groups from the community under Questival’s simple creed: “Discovery, friendship and fun.”
Questival’s roots can be traced back to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where Cotopaxi founder Davis Smith received both his master’s of business and master’s in international studies. As a student, Smith helped create the Lauder Culture Quest, an experience where he and his classmates formed teams and raced from Belize to Panama, crossing the borders of seven countries and completing various challenges along the way.
When Smith launched Cotopaxi in 2014, he wanted to create a similar experience that would help people connect with Cotopaxi’s values of spending time outdoors, adventuring and serving others.
“The day we turned on our website and launched Cotopaxi, we also launched this crazy 24-hour adventure race where 5,000 people got Cotopaxi backpacks and adventured around Utah,” Smith said. “Since then, we’ve held over 100 events across the U.S., Canada and Central America.”
Ashlee Johnson, Cotopaxi’s campus connector for BYU, helped organize this year’s Questival experience.
“Questival is a 24-hour adventure challenge you get to do with your friends that embodies adventure, fun, unity and service altogether. What better combination could you have?” Johnson said at a Questival preparation event on March 8.
Questival began at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 24 and ended at 6 p.m. the following Saturday evening. The competition consisted of over 250 various challenges ranging from painting a team member blue to exploring some of Utah’s national parks. Service projects were also among the possible activities, allowing participants to both adventure around the area and engage with the local community.
“Cotopaxi’s motto is ‘Do Good,’ so we have a whole section of challenges dedicated to students being able to find ways to do good and get out in their community,” Johnson said. “We partnered with several Y-Serve entities who have provided us with service opportunities to give to the Questival participants.”
BYU student Simon Charles and his team were excited for the opportunity to explore Provo and make memories as part of this unique Questival for BYU.
“I believe when opportunities present themselves you should seize them, and this seemed like a fun opportunity to explore campus, make memories and have fun, so I was all in,” Charles said.
This year’s Questival consisted of 83 individual teams vying for four awards. The first, second and third place prizes included Cotopaxi gear, a special CLAS Ropes Course, an exclusive tasting night at Taste and additional vouchers to other local vendors.
Although prizes were on the line, many teams competed in Questival for the experience rather than the awards.
“Obviously we’d love to have a victory, but we also believe it’s important to do things for the sake of enjoying them and having joy in all that we do. We’d like to get to know BYU better, to contribute to the service projects presented through Questival, and we’d also like to make memories,” Charles said.
Other students saw Questival as one final Provo adventure before graduating BYU.
“I graduate in April and I wanted a chance to do something fun and engaging with my friends in the BYU and Utah community before I leave. Most of us are going to grad school, we’re moving. Our time together is coming to an end so we wanted to hang out with each other while we can,” BYU student Amanda Reece said.
Questival participants used the Goosechase app to log their tasks and keep track of their points. Teams uploaded photos or videos of themselves completing activities and then could see how many points they had and where they stood on the leaderboard.
While past Questivals have required participants to pay an admission fee to participate, this year’s Questival was completely free. The removal of participation limits also allowed more people to participate in this year’s Questival experience.
BYU student Julia Wangsgard participated in Questival with a group of friends. Although maneuvering around on crutches is never an easy task, Wangsgard was not going to let crutches keep her from participating in the unique event.
“I decided to do Questival for so many reasons. It sounded like a blast, and even after I got hurt I was still down to get out and do something adventurous,” Wangsgard said. “The best part of Questival has been being together and spending time with my friends.”