Zip Adventures debuts new cliff jumping | VailDaily.com

Zip Adventures debuts new cliff jumping

Fernando Hernandez launches off the Canyon Plunge free fall ride at Zip Adventures in Wolcott on July 3. The final part of the fall is controlled by a magnetic braking system that safely facilitates the landing process.

WOLCOTT — The staff at Zip Adventures has long been eyeing a feature they call The Diving Board in Alkali Canyon. Aptly named, The Diving Board perches out over the canyon, looking 200-feet down toward the Alkali Creek below.

"We always thought about trying to have a zipline off of the diving board, but then we realized it would be much better for a free fall feature," Zip Adventures General Manager Sheldon Kuhns said July 3 as the new activity made its debut to the public.

Using an electromagnetic cable-stopping system designed by Head Rush Technologies in Boulder, thrill seekers free fall for about 15 feet before the stopping mechanism kicks in for the final three-fourths of the ride to a platform below.

"From the creek bed up to The Diving Board rock its about 200 feet, so as you're on the rock, you're looking down and it looks much higher than the 60 feet you're going to descend," Kuhns said. "So it's quite a rush."

DIFFERENT TAKE ON ZIPLINING

Recommended Stories For You

Zip Adventures opened in 2007 with a different take on ziplining. Cruising across and through the Alkali Canyon, the experience showcased much more natural features than you will find at canopy ziplines, which take you from one man made feature to another. Zip Adventures takes guests on a hike along the canyon rim, hitting six zipline features along the way. The final zip is called What Was I Thinking? and takes guests through the canyon in a parallel fashion, with the sandstone walls rushing alongside adventurers as they reach speeds of 40 miles per hour.

The new freefall feature, called The Canyon Plunge, elongates that tour to seven total features, with the plunge as the second to last. By swinging guests out over the canyon on a cable trolley system, The Canyon Plunge also designates itself as unique among the more urban freefalling thrill rides to which it could be compared.

"This is the only place in the world that we know of where that happens," Kuhns said of the cable trolley system that hangs in the canyon to create The Canyon Plunge.

YOUR OWN INITIATIVE

On July 3, as the new attraction opened to the public, Valerie Bright of Tyler, Texas, was among the first to try it.

Stepping out onto The Diving Board, the cables may make one feel secure, but Bright soon figured out it was going to take her own initiative to engage the system. Translation: She actually had to jump off the cliff herself. She hesitated slightly before looking back at her family and making the plunge.

"I'm really glad I did it," she said after landing. "I've never done anything like this."

You can try out the Canyon Plunge by joining a Zip Adventures tour out of 4 Eagle Ranch in Wolcott. Tours depart daily between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. until Aug. 16, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aug. 17 to Sept. 30, and 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.

For more information on Zip Adventures, visit zipadventures.com.