Tag Archives: zipline

French Resort Debuts Europe’s Longest Zipline

High-elevation Val Thorens’ super-zipline crosses a glacier.

ValThorens-logoAs I’ve written before, I love ziplines. And as I haven’t mentioned recently, I love the Alps, that magnificent range that stretches from France to Slovenia. Some of my best ski days and my very best long hiking trip have been in the Alpine countries. Now Val Thorens, the highest of the resorts comprising the Trois Vallées (the Three Valleys) has just debuted another attraction: the highest zipline in Europe.

Unlike any North American zipline I've seen or ridden, this rider has skis on his back.
Unlike any North American zipline I’ve seen or ridden, this rider has skis on his back.

Opened on Monday, February 17, the zip line soars some 800 feet above Val Thorens glacier, enabling riders to  reach speeds of more than 60 miles per hour. The ride doesn’t come cheap. It’s €50 (about $68). The line runs from the top of the Bouchet chairlift at Orelle to the top of the Funitel de Thorens, and adds ziplining to the resort’s other non-ski, non-snowboarding  winter options that already include France’s longest toboggan run, ice driving and something that translates to “karting,” whatever that might be.

Riding Crested Butte’s New Zipline

Crested Butte gets in on the zipline craze

CrestedButteZiplineI’ve never met a zipline I didn’t enjoy. My first zipline experience in winter at Whistler, British Columbia, was a magical multi-line aerial cruise through snow-covered, old-growth conifers with short walks on the ground or across little bridges between the lines. Since then, I’ve climbed a telephone pole to ride a single line at Colorado’s Snow Mountain Ranch, ridden a temporary zipline in downtown San Francisco coincidently set up promote Whistler and visited several elaborate eco-attractions on Mexico’s Riviera Maya that feature ziplines over dense tropical jungles.

Just before my husband and I pulled out of Crested Butte, where we spent the Fourth of July weekend, I was delighted to go on the resort’s Zipline Tour. Between towering wooden take-off/landing platforms, five lines range from the shortest at 120 feet to the longest, a 400-foot line with a kicker at the end. The ziplines are at the bottom of the mountain requiring no lift ride, just a short uphill walk to the first (and shortest) line. Guests don’t return to the ground until completing the final line. Along the aerial route are a couple of suspended wood bridges that reminded me of wobbly bridges in amusement park funhouses.

I was on the first tour of the day on Sunday with a family from Dallas. The teenagers all accepted the challenges that guides Pete and Clair suggested — walking off the platform like a zombie with closed eyes and such. I did none of that. While I love zipping, I really don’t like leaving the platform and always have to persuade myself to do so. If anyone snickered about my chickenhood, they did so behind my back, and that was OK. The Crested Butte Zipline Tour took a bit over two hours, including getting into our harnesses and walking up to the start. It is a year-round adventure that takes place sun, rain or snow. If I get to Crested Butte this winter, you can bet I’ll do it again. The Zipline Tour costs $60 or $57 with a five-day advance reservation.

New Zipline on Big Island’s Kohala Coast

Kohala Canopy Adventure debuts with super-zipline

As if volcano viewing, nature tours, whale watching, hiking, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, sport fishing, bicycling, tennis, golf and plain old DIY sightseeing weren’t enough, Big Island of Hawaii adds another activity when the first zipline experience takes off this month. I’ve ziplined elsewhere, and I love the idea of a thrilling aerial trek in Hawaii — especially on the Big Island. Hawaii Forest & Trail, with two decades of nature tours activities, has a new sister company that takes to the air to provide a thrilling ride, yet stays true to its core values and keeps this nature-based experience.

The new Kohala Canopy Adventure was intended to embrace the captivating beauty and history of Kohala’s Halawa Gulch, where a canopy course provides a a tree-to-tree experience that features five elevated suspension bridges, 14 high tree platforms, nine thrilling ziplines (eight single rider lines and one dual rider line) and two rappels.  Adventure Playground, the canopy course builders who have done ziplines in Colorado and Costa Rica, installed platforms in towering century-old trees.  The platforms and elevated sky bridges use lumber milled from trees on site with minimal impact to the forest, with as little distrubance as possible. Zipline riders absorb the beauty of a meandering stream, ancient taro fields and the forest floor below.

For anyone concerned about safety, the Kohala zipline uses a twin-line cable system with two trolleys, one secured on the top line and one secured on the bottom line.  Each line is constructed of aircraft-grade galvanized steel andcoated with a proprietary polymer blend that reduces line noise by more than 50%. Kohala Zipline is Hawaii’s only course to use WhisperLinesSM, which allows riders to hear the distinctive sounds of the forest rather than line whine.

The cost is $159 per adult and $129 per child. Book online, Email info@kohalazipline or call 800-464-1993 or 808-331-3620.