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Zipping With Zoar!

By Spencer Laffond

With summer coming to a close and school back in session, people generally fall into thinking that fun family outings might be coming to an end, especially as the temperature gets a bit chillier with each day, which may turn some away from water activities. But there is still an activity some forget, which is perfect for the fall months – Ziplining!

Customer enjoying Zoar Zipline Canopy Tour

With every zipline course, there are differences in the structure of the course or how specific elements are handled. Zoar Outdoor’s zipline is a canopy tour, meaning that guests zipline to and from platforms that have been constructed in the trees on the mountain behind Zoar’s facilities. That alone is fairly unique among some of the other zipline options in the area, but if you’re curious about other aspects that make Zoar Outdoors Zipline Canopy Tour so great, these are some of the most interesting and important things to look forward to on the zipline!

Accessibility

When one thinks of canopy tours, they may wonder how guests get to the top of the course. Surely, platforms up in the trees must be an ordeal to get up to?

Fortunately, this is far from the case. There is some walking involved, first from the zipline building where the trips start by checking in, getting weighed and geared up. Next, there’s a quick walk up some stairs to ground school, and to the pick up point for Zoar’s ATVs which drive guests to the top of the course where they’ll meet the first zipline, and another short walk from a break area about mid-way through the trip to get to the next zipline and resume the trip. While the latter is traversing a bit of uneven forest floor, the former three do have outdoor stairs to help make the short distance a bit easier to navigate.

And in terms of getting to the top of the course, those ATVs mentioned earlier are used to bring guests to the top of the mountain. Then, a step ladder around 8ft or 2.5 meters is used to get up to the first platform. And while it is a ladder, it is definitely one of the most ergonomic ladders out there, more like a compromise between said ladder and stairs. There are built-in handholds as well, so at no point does anyone have to worry about being separated from the ladder.

It is from this first platform that the trip begins with a good length zipline to get everyone accustomed to the experience.The whole tour is progressive, which means the ziplines get longer and faster as the trip goes on. And if someone needs to leave the course, save for a single line that already takes guests back to terra firma, each landing has an exit rappel to get guests back on solid ground quickly and safely!

Height

The canopy tour aspect of the zipline does prove to be a challenge for some, especially those nervous when dealing with heights might find this concept to be a big hurdle to conquer. Zoar’s zipline offers limited time on solid ground. But because of the structure of the course, being on a mountain and traversing the declining terrain, the zipline is relatively lower to the ground than one might expect, while still being high enough to offer a fun and exciting experience!

At its tallest point, the zipline reaches about 45ft, or about 14 meters off the ground, while the closest one can get to the ground while up on the platforms is 15ft, about 4.5 meters up. These measurements are taken from the base of the tree each respective platform is built on as well, so the actual height and how far each one feels is very different. And if it turns out the activity isn’t for you, guides will be able to assist a guest off the course at any point.

Fun fact: Some Zoar zipline guides have found themselves uneasy when dealing with heights themselves, but pleasantly discovered the Zoar Outdoor zipline doesn’t invoke unease when up on the course!

Difficulty

When the zipline is described, a word that may come up is “Self-Braking”. Initially, this term may sound a bit intimidating, especially when it is revealed that said self-braking is done by applying pressure on the zipline itself by hand

Turns out, it’s a lot simpler than it may seem. First, Zoar Outdoor supplies each guest with gloves, and your braking hand will have an extra leather palmed layer. Guests put these gloves to the test while they learn how to break at the ground school. By laying your hand flat like a pancake and adding downward pressure to the line behind your head, the amount of strength needed to slow down is surprisingly minimal. Even someone on the wiser or younger ends of the age spectrum shouldn’t have much trouble controlling their speed on the course.

Unique Views

Charlemont is surrounded by mountains, so if you’re an avid outdoor explorer, many of the experiences may be familiar if you venture off the beaten path. Even less adventurous folks can be treated to fantastic views near our Zipline course if they are guests at the Warfield house, or take a trip up Berkshire East. And while these on-foot views are great, there is something about seeing the world from higher up. 

While on the zipline, there are a few spots you can check out the surrounding scenery, that you usually couldn’t view from the floor of the forest. You may even be treated to some fascinating (and factually dubious) stories about the history of the vista such as the one below.

The views also change depending on the time of year. Autumn is an especially good time to go, with all the brightly colored, changing leaves and new lines of sightseeing, the experience can vastly differ from a summer trip!

Community

With each zipline trip being three hours long, guests are going to be up on the course with their guides and other guests for a good chunk of time. And in all the time spent in the trees, Zoar Outdoor’s zipline guides go above and beyond their basic guiding duties to make sure everyone has a great experience on the course. 

Beyond their responsibilities of clipping and unclipping guests into lines and harnesses, assisting guests on and off the rappels, and making sure everyone is taken care of, Zoar Outdoor guides are all avid outdoors aficionados, and enjoy sharing their passion with the guests who are able to visit. With the varying personalities that are part of the Zoar zipline team, you’re sure to have a fun and unique experience each time you visit, with special care being taken to create an environment that fosters a fun and secure experience for the entirety of the three hours. Some even offer “luxury tours” which just means there should be plenty of corny jokes expected. Looking for the perfect fall activity to enjoy with family & friends? Learn more about our outdoor zipline canopy tour here & reach out to book your session today!

With these in mind, hopefully you’ll consider joining Zoar Outdoor for an exciting and unique time on the zipline. The course runs well into November, and regardless of the time, Spring, Summer or Autumn, you’re sure to have a memorable experience at Zoar Outdoor!

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