Last Autumn Roadhouse hosted an exciting new addition to the Bulkley Valley - Smithers' first ever Escape Room.
Owner Michaela Kafer had always had thoughts of turning the unused basement space at the restaurant (formerly the ski rental area of the old Winterland building) into a pop-up escape room.
Michaela had thought Halloween would be an ideal time to run the event but opening a new 100-seat restaurant quickly put paid to any hopes of creating such an intricate experience.
Luckily fate lent a helping hand as local businessman and Escape Room enthusiast, Mark DeHoog, had been secretly creating his own Escape Room design. His fascination started out as something fun to do with his kids and then he realised it was a great way of getting people to work together.
"You can't do an escape room by yourself!" says DeHoog.
Through the power of the grapevine word got out Roadhouse was looking to install an escape room and DeHoog and was looking for somewhere to house his. And presto, the Pharaoh's Tomb was born.
Mark worked for 3 months creating the puzzles & artifacts and it took him and a team of eager helpers 6 weeks to install it. The effect was worth it though.
Over a 10-week period over 100 teams attempted to solve the puzzles and escape the 3-room design. Styled as an archaeologists' dig site, an ancient-Egyptian tomb entrance & the tomb room participants had to work together to first identify a series of cryptic clues to solve the puzzles. Once the puzzles in a room were solved, entrance to the next room was gained all done by the low light of kerosine-styled lamps & flashlights adding to that authentic 'dig' feel.
Project proceeds went to the Smithers Secondary School Drama Club 'Bucks for Broadway' fund raising money to bring the drama students to New York to see a Broadway show. Students took on an Indiana Jones-style character who guided the groups through the rooms.
Only 21 teams managed to make their way successfully through the three rooms making the success rate less than 25 per cent, much lower than the projected rate of 65 per cent. The difficulty level has been rated as 8.5 out of 10 - but that didn't stop visitors from having a great time.
Competitors had this to say about their experience:
"This was a great experience - thank you - very well thought through and the props are amazing - felt very real . Even though we didn’t make it through it was still a lot of fun!"
Tanja Blum Walker
"Such a fun and exhilarating experience to share with friends! So much thought and detail put into the production!"