Game Creek zipline tours start this week
EPIC DISCOVERY OPTIONS
Little Explorer Pass, $49
Designed for kids, provides an introductory Epic Discovery experience via the Mountain Goat Climbing Tower, Bungee Trampoline, Little Eagle Zipline, Pine Cone Adventure Course, Marmot Mini Tubing and a Scenic Gondola ticket.
Ultimate Adventure Pass, $89
Provides unlimited all-day access to the Forest Flyer alpine coaster, includes a companion ride-along ticket and a Scenic Gondola Ride up the mountain to reach Epic Discovery.
Game Creek Aerial Adventure Pass, $189
An Ultimate Adventure Pass with the Game Creek zipline canopy tour included. Reservations required by calling 970-754-8245. Participants must be at least 10 years old and weigh between 75-250lbs. Participants under 14 years old must be accompanied by a paying adult. Harness must fit properly. Fully enclosed footwear are required for all activities.
VAIL — Vail Mountain unveiled the crown jewel of the new Epic Discovery summer program on Tuesday with the Game Creek Areal Adventure zipline tour.
The tour opens to the public Wednesday and includes a canopy tour of Game Creek Bowl on Vail Mountain through seven ziplines, each different than the next. One is more than a half mile in length, another allows guest to reach speeds of more than 50 mph, and another is approximately 300 feet above the ground.
If installing a 300-foot tall zipline over rugged mountain terrain sounds like a difficult undertaking, you should have seen what it took just to get the idea off the ground, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said Tuesday.
“We first came up with the concept of putting one of these activities here on Vail Mountain 10 years ago,” Katz said. “We had a lot of support locally, had a lot of support within the Forest Service, and found out … that we needed an act of Congress to actually get that done. That would have probably deterred most groups, since Congress is not passing that many laws these days.”
Nevertheless, Vail moved forward with the idea.
“With unanimous support, we were able to pass that bill,” Katz said.
YOUR NATIONAL FOREST
Also recently unveiled as part of the Epic Discovery adventure is Vail Mountain’s new Forest Flyer — a roller-coaster-like ride which has been open to the public for a couple of weeks now — and several learn through play activities which were added with the aid of the Walking Mountain Science Center in Avon.
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The end goal is to get more people onto lands which are a part of the National Forest, or, as Leslie Jones likes to say, lands which are part of “your” National Forest. Jones is the deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and visited Vail from the nation’s capitol just for the Epic Discovery launch on Tuesday.
“We want folks to understand that this belongs to them, and we really are the caretakers,” Jones said from Eagle’s Nest atop the Lionshead Gondola. “When people have something that is theirs, they tend to take better care of it, and they care about the outcome of it.”
‘HOOKED TO THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT’
Katz said in thinking about how to expose more people to their National Forest, Vail Resorts had to consider more than the traditional activities.
“We saw so many people who wanted to come up on our mountain who may not be big time hikers, mountain bikers, skiers – how do we actually bring them onto this mountain and show them what the Rocky Mountains can showcase?” Katz said. “And at the same time, we wanted to do something that was truly inspirational, something that would help attract people to the environment … and yes, we wanted something that we felt would be a good business at the same time.”
In creating Epic Discovery, Vail Resorts blended those needs, Katz said, through the help of their partners at the U.S. Forest Service and White River National Forest, the Nature Conservancy, and the many other groups who were involved.
“I think though a lot of thoughtful discussion and dialogue with all of these partners, we were able to create a concept that I think will do wonders for all of our stakeholders,” Katz said.
Colorado State Senator Kerry Donovan agrees.
“I think that once families experience this, or a kid visiting from Denver, or a kid visiting from New Jersey, they’re just going to get hooked,” she said. “And that’s what we want, we want them to get hooked to the natural environment, and be then committed to preserving that for generations far beyond ourselves.”
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