Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Day On The Zipline

I've got a story to write for a regional publication on the Bootleg Canyon Flightlines attraction in the hills outside of Boulder City. I took a break from a busy week of MJ-benefit-mania on Thursday to ride it with my friend Trevor. For those unfamiliar, a zipline is steel cable that you glide -- sometimes pretty fast -- down while attached by a harness. These things...

hold what we're attached to. See?

Boulder City, as I reported in my New York Times piece earlier this year, is repositioning itself as an outdoor-adventure hub and this attraction from Greenheart LLC part of that. I'm not a person who likes roller coasters or bungee jumps or anything involving being nauseated, so I was very nervous about this until I got in the harness and hung from the line waiting to be launched. It all feels very secure and 10,000 tourists have done it so far without any injury.

Part of it involved carrying our equipment up part of the hill, which had these views of Lake Mead and the Strip respectively:

Bootleg Canyon is so named because bootleggers would distill alcohol for residents of Boulder City, where liquor was still outlawed even after Prohibition ended in the 1930s. Today, it's known as one of the nation's top places to go mountain biking. Here's some of the ramps and stuff they have.

The deal with Boulder City was that the city gets $10 from every tourist fee on the zipline. Greenheart also gives $2 to a conservation group that cares for the hills. Greenheart has also build ziplines in Haiti, Canada and San Diego, although none have four runs except the Vegas one. You can visit BCFlightlines.Com for more on how long each line is; I can't recall.

I was pretty nervous on that first leap, but it was just so exhilarating and such a stress releaser! Two of the four lines have negative grades at various points and Trevor and I ended up not going fast enough to hit the platform because we encountered very stiff wind. As a result, as you can see in this 4-minute YouTube movie I made, we drifted back and had to be towed in later:

Much of that video was shot by the Bootleg Canyon staff. That was something fascinating to me, that they don't try to soak you by taking your $150 a person for the experience and then charge you for pictures and videos and stuff like that. The guides are only too happy to shoot with your camera as many times as you like. I can't recall that kind of customer service at any similar attraction I've done of this ilk.

My camera battery was dead, but Trevor has lots of photos and has set up a Flickr photo album that you can browse. Here's a fun one of him taken by me...

...and of me taken by him!


Norm said...

I've done the flights, too, and it's great fun! Good report.

Anonymous said...

It looks like you had so much fun!!! Thanks for the report! Next time let us know you're a reporter, tho!

LinFromNJ said...

Wow! that looks like so much fun. How long does it take to complete all of the flights?

Bay in TN said...

Honestly, that looks like an absolute blast, and I would love to do it. However, the price tag is CRAZY! One hundred and fifty dollars? OMG! I want steaks and chocolate truffles and champagne for that kind of price, not lugging my own equipment up a mountain for a zip line ride down to the parking lot. I hope these people reconsider their exorbitant prices in this wretched economy!

But of course, if money were no object... looks cool! thanks for the review/report.

Anonymous said...

I agree the price is outrageous, but then most of Las Vegas is TRIPLE the costs of everything anywhere else. Look up other zip lines online. Locals don't even get a discount and we know how to get to Boulder City! Let the tourists pay the money, I won't!