Zip lining is among the fastest growing sports in mountain resort areas during the warmer months, and for good reason. If you’re an adrenaline junkie with a passion for action, zip lines provide an easy and low cost adventure to try.
The concept of zip lining started as a need to transport people and things across canyons, rivers and rain forests in South America, China and Australia. Its popularity as a sport took off with canopy tours in Costa Rica during the 90’s. Now zip lining courses are everywhere, and one is even being planned for the Atlanta Braves’ new stadium.
Zipping provides a new way to enjoy the mountains in the summer, and your zip line experience can vary based on the outfitter and course design. Unlike canopy lines, you’ll find two types of courses in and around mountain resort areas: ground-to-ground courses and towered. Ground-to-ground lines use the natural features of mountain slopes and canyons for inclination and build speed, where towered lines use tall constructed platforms in mostly flat areas.
The ground-to-ground setup allows riders to launch from much lower platforms, making the take-off and landing much smoother than other kinds. Ground lines typically present a longer and faster ride than towered and canopy, yet ironically provide more control due to the high tech braking systems that are used.
There are many operators and lines out there now, so make sure you ask the right questions and read online reviews before you book. Consider these questions when searching:
• What type of zip line is it, and is it safety certified by a 3rd party?
• What are the height, weight and age requirements for participants?
• How long and fast are the lines/ Does the rider operate the brake, or the guide?
• How many guides and riders are on the tour, and are they grouped by experience or ability?
Zip lining is easy for anyone to learn so it is a sport that a group or a family can enjoy together. A way to try the sport at a lower rate is to bundle zip lining together with another activity, like white water rafting. Raft Masters with eight mountain locations offers packages that bundles zip lining with white water rafting to make both activities more affordable, and also caters to many ability levels.
Planning for a large group can be tricky, but Raft Masters can handle all of the details. They not only outfit everyone from head to toe with the gear that’s needed, but they’ll also handle the transportation from the front range (in town for us lay people) to either one of their starting points in Canon City or Idaho Springs, which is on the way to many of Colorado’s top resorts. Group discounts kick in with 10 or more people, and if you have 20 or more, the organizer guides your group for no additional charge.