After the small but numerous ziplines in the Treetop Adventure Course, it’s time to try out one of the longest ziplines in the world, and the largest in North America, the Sasquatch. This is a line run by the Ziptrek tour company, easily identified by their bright orange banners and stands around Whistler. They run several tours, including eco tours, but their crown jewel is the 2km+ zipline that runs from Blackcomb all the way to Whistler mountain. At its highest, over 600ft in the air, and can boast speeds over 100km/h. It’s normally $119, but as a Whistler Blackcomb employee, I get it for $60.
I’m going in the early morning, so show up at 10 at Upper Village to get weighed and sign the waiver. I also have the option of renting a GoPro for the trip, but decided to forgo it. Once everyone’s arrived and signed in, we head up the chairlift to the change station where the cargo container Ziptrek use is stationed in order to get our gear. I pass this thing every single day for work, so it’s kind of a novelty to finally be standing in it.
Once we’ve got our gear sorted, it’s into the van and up the service roads, first going upwards some distances before turning off and heading down again, finally getting out and wandering to a wooden stand in the middle of the mountain forest. In front of us is the valley, and two metal wires stretching out further than we can see.
We’re the first group of the day, so one of the guides heads out first to make sure the everything’s set up at the other side, and then it’s time for us to head out.
There’s two wires, so I end up heading off as part of the third couple, paired with a German girl. The stand is a good 20 feet in the air, and you have to walk down some steps floating in the air before jumping off, so you can imagine my reluctance. Having another girl do it at the same time was a huge relief. We counted to three, and threw ourselves off.
This isn’t quite like the canyon swing in that it isn’t as fast, but otherwise it’s very similar – you’re just speeding forwards on a slight incline rather than straight down, and it’s still VERY fast. The wind shear you get is crazy – I tried to do the superman pose like I’d seen our guide do and just got blown around. The zipline has handles that will help you stay facing forward, but honestly, I only used them a few times. It was far too much fun to try different positions while flying over the river.
It takes at least 2 minutes to make your way over, and when you finally get close to the landing station, you get jerked by the brakes provided when you fly through a giant white square. Good thing too, or landing would be painful considering the speeds you can get. You don’t quite register it until you see the other people flying down, and just how much speed gets cut when they run through the square too.
Once we’re all down, we’re taken on a short walk to Whistler’s changing station, involving some dangerous running over active bike trails before reaching the gondola and heading back down. Our gear gets handed in at the orange Ziptrek building in the bike park area, and we’re released for the day. I’m tempted to try hiring a bike, but honestly, it’s been an expensive couple of days thanks to my ziplining adventures, so probably best I save my cash.
Especially since next week will see me heading to an anime convention and I need every penny I can get…