By Cheryl Rhodes
British Columbia is a huge attraction for people who love the outdoors live and everything it can offer. If you seek the thrill of adventure and love nature, catching a ride on a British Columbia zip line combines incredible views, an adrenaline rush, and the insane feeling of weightlessness while soaring over tree tops? And best of all, people with all fitness levels can participate. Catch a thrilling ride on a zip line and the worst part of the day is when the fun is over.
Zip lines (metal cables) are attached to trees using a method that is environmentally friendly, similar to piercing an ear, and are gaining in popularity, capitalizing on British Columbia’s rain forests as a breath-taking back drop. Unfortunately most zippers are too busy enjoying the thrill of the ride to take in the scenery and snap photos. Many British Columbia’s zip lines are located near ski hills or other areas that attract visitors, providing visitors the possibility of taking part in other activities the same day.
Zip line tour groups are usually around 10 people, a manageable number for two employees who are there to make sure everyone has a fun, safe day. When arriving at the zip line facility, the visitor will be given a liability waiver to sign before being allowed to proceed to the zip lines. Age and weight restrictions vary slightly with each zip line operator. Check ahead of time just in case anyone in your group is border line, and yes the staff will bring out a scale if they think a customer is outside the range. After a safety talk, visitors are suited up into a harness and a hard hat. There is usually a practice run on a short zip line close to the ground and this is probably the last chance to quit if the rider decides they’re scared or won’t enjoy the experience. Depending on the company, there may not be a refund at this point. The harnesses have two cables that are hooked onto the zip line (just in case one fails….) and the staff are very safety conscious, ensuring that everyone knows what to do during the ride and how to land on the platform at the other side. One staff member goes down the zip line first to help all guests land on the platform, and the other staff member stays with the riders and sends them off one by one.
Most zip line tour operators provide rain gear if the weather turns bad, and most of them operate year round. They keep an eye on what’s happening on the ski slopes. If the weather is dangerous enough to close down the chair lifts on the ski slopes, the zip lines will also shut down.
British Columbia zip line companies vary in the number of zip lines they have, the type of scenery, the length of the zip lines, the height, and the speed a flyer might reach. If you want to find out what it feels like to fly or if you’re craving an adrenaline rush, the thrill of a ride at one of these zip line companies might be just what you’re seeking:
1. Zip Trek Ecotours in Whistler combines an ecotour with the zip line. Learn about trees and wild animals in-between flights down the zip line. They have 5 zip lines including the practice run in Whistler Village near their shop, and passengers enjoy a bumpy ride up the mountain in a 4 wheel drive van to reach the first zip line. For more information http://www.ziptrek.com/whistler-canada
2. Also in Whistler, Superfly Ziplines has 6 tandem lines so line ups aren’t too long. http://www.superflyziplines.com/
3. Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver has tours with either 3 or 5 dual zip lines (number of open zip lines depends on the season) and the price includes the gondola ride up the mountain. https://www.grousemountain.com/zipline
5. Zipity Doo Dah Adventure Park (near Ashcroft) offers accommodations at its resort as well as 6 zip lines and other outdoor activities like ATV tours and horseback riding. http://thewildernesswayresort.com/
Happy zipping everyone!
Published: November 22, 2014
Cheryl Rhodes writes from Surrey, British Columbia where she lives with two dogs and three horses. She’s the author of 5 novels and a cookbook, and enjoys traveling, photography, swimming, geocaching, reading, and writing mysteries. Visit her at www.cherylrhodes.com