On our trip to Breckenridge for Ullr Festival earlier this month, Ryan and I were invited to go ziplining at Top of the Rockies Zip Line. Up until this point my one zipline experience involved zipping across the small lake at the village in Copper, so the thought of a fast, long zip was exhilarating and rather frightening.
We took the free shuttle from Breckenridge along with a group of men who were going to the same place for a day of ziplining and snowmobiling from White Mountain Tours, the sister company of Top of the Rockies. Our van driver, who lives in Fraser, was an entertaining source of information as we drove through the beautiful, snowy scenery.
When we arrived at Top of the Rockies I was delighted to find out that I was going to get to ride in a snow cat. Here’s a little insider info about me – I have an obsession with Antarctica. I have read a lot of books about this ice covered continent where they drive around in snow cats instead of cars. Therefore, I’ve always wanted to ride in a snow cat and this was going to be my first opportunity to do so.
First, we had to put on our ziplining gear that hung down and hit my knees throughout the day, but it was worth it. Then, we loaded up into the snow cat with Ty, the manager of Top of the Rockies at the wheel and Oz, our ziplining guide for the day.
Ty let me ride shotgun as we barreled up the mountain. We were soon well above treeline and the view at the top is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The panoramic cannot be described in words.
After gaping at the view for an appropriate amount of time, we loaded back into the snow cat and rolled back down to the first of five ziplines at Top of the Rockies. The first one is at 11,000 feet and flies out over the side of the snowy mountain.
First we did a little briefing with Ty and Oz in the “practice” area. This helps riders familiarize themselves with terminology and with how it feels to be hooked to the line. Once we were ready, my heart was beating pretty fast as I got on the wooden platform, still very shiny and new because Top of the Rockies only opened this past summer.
Oz zipped out to the other side to act as brake–man and then Ty hooked up Ryan who didn’t even hesitate when he got the GO. The line hummed as his 200 lbs went flying out over the precipice. I don’t think he even screamed, but when it was my turn to zip I let out some whoops and hollers that they probably heard in Leadville.
I might have been scared in the beginning, but after the first zip I learned to trust my equipment and my guides. As we worked our way through the five zips, the smile on my face grew and grew. I’ve described the experience of ziplining as a true natural high. For a control freak like me, throwing myself off a platform and flying through the air is more than fun – it is freedom – it’s letting go and truly living in the moment.
Top of the Rockies is one of very few Colorado ziplines that stays open year-round. Nearly everyone can zip, and while there is some hiking between zipline platforms, it is light weight. There are all sorts of packages to choose from including a ziplining and snowmobiling day that include lunch. In exciting news, Top of the Rockies already has plans to add to more ziplines this summer, making the total number of zips 7.
You can learn more and book a trip at TopoftheRockiesZipline.com.
A huge thank you to Ty and Oz for being fun guys and great guides. Thanks for the snow cat tour and the ziplining. Hope to see you again for a summertime zip!
Below is video taken by Ryan of one of his 5 zips at Top of the Rockies. If I had taken video there would have been a lot more screaming involved!