Ziplining NH: Thrills come quickly when you're flying through the trees

By MEGHAN McCARTHY McPHAUL
Special to the Sunday News
June 02. 2018 5:19PM
Guides will give lighter zippers a little push at the start to make sure they get good speed. (MEGHAN McCARTHY McPHAUL PHOTO)
Where to go ziplining
There are several ziplining adventures around New Hampshire, ranging from single ziplines to full tours. Many of these are located at ski areas:

Bretton Woods (ages 12 and up, www.brettonwoods.com)

Attitash (ages 10 and up, www.attitash.com/ziptour)

Gunstock (ages 10 and up, www.gunstock.com/summer/ziptour)

Loon Mountain (at least 50 pounds, www.loonmtn.com)

Wildcat (at least 75 pounds and 52 inches tall, www.skiwildcat.com/ziprider)

Sunapee (ages 10 and up, at least 80 pounds, www.mountsunapee.com).

Other options include:

Alpine Adventures in Lincoln (alpinezipline.com)

Candia Springs, Alpine Adventures' sister park (www.candiasprings.com)

Morningside in Charlestown (flymorningside.kittyhawk.com)

Monkey Trunks parks in Chocorua and Weirs Beach (monkeytrunks.com)

Zip tips

--Wear long pants and closed-toe shoes. It's also a good idea to avoid belly shirts, baggy clothing, and dangly jewelry.
--If you're planning to bring a phone or camera, make sure you have a pocket to zip it into. Some of the helmets at Alpine Adventures have GoPro mounts (and they rent GoPro cameras if you don't have your own).
--Be prepared with all the regular outdoor supplies: bug repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, raincoat - most tours run rain or shine.

I
f you’ve ever watched a bird soaring high in the sky and imagined what it might feel like to fly, then ziplining is … well, probably a little too wild to match that peaceful scene!

It’s more like a fast-diving falcon than a gracefully-gliding eagle. While ziplining can satisfy an adrenaline junkie’s need for speed, it’s also a great family activity and can be a fun new way to explore the outdoors – from above the ground.

My kids have wanted to try ziplining since they first sailed across a friend’s backyard on a homemade zipline. They’re relative lightweights, however, and many ziplining tours have a minimum weight requirement, so it took some searching to find the right fit. That fit turned out to be Alpine Adventures in Lincoln.

With three zipline tour options of varying challenge and level of “extreme,” Alpine Adventures pitches its Treetop Tour as “perfect for families and first-time zippers,” so we figured we’d give it a whirl.

When we arrived at Alpine Adventures’ Main Street headquarters, we watched other kids work their way through the Thrillsville Aerial Adventure Park, which looked like a blast, and made a mental note to return and check that out.

Step one of our zipline outing was a weigh-in, required of all zippers, to make sure we were each within the 50-240 pound limit. Then we were outfitted with harnesses and helmets and boarded the 6x6 Pinzgauer that would take us 10 miles down the road, from a downtown bustling with tourists into Alpine Adventures’ 300-acre forest enclave, home to Alpine’s ziplining courses and off-road tours.

Even getting to the first zip tower seemed like an adventure, as the Pinzgauer — a military-style, open-sided truck with a motor the size of a small tractor — bumped over rocks and ruts on the narrow track into the forest.

Once there, our guides — who were a nice mix of funny, helpful, and informative — gave us a quick how-to and safety talk, tightened our harnesses, and sent us off, one by one, down the first zipline.

The kids were that butterflies-in-the-belly mix of excited and nervous at first, but there were big smiles after each zip, and they couldn’t wait to get to the next one. Each of Alpine Adventures’ tours has six separate ziplines. On the Treetop Tour, these range from 250 to 1,000 feet in length, with platforms 10 feet to 60 feet off the forest floor.

Between ziplines, we walked along wooded paths to get from one platform to the next. Although I-93 was just on the other side of the trees, it felt as if we were deep in the forest. Augmenting that feeling of remoteness was a visit to the Tree House, accessed by a narrow suspension bridge, after the fourth zipline. Built by Alpine Adventure guides a few years ago, this log structure on stilts – which raise it to the level of the tree canopy — is like something right out of the pages of The Swiss Family Robinson.

After a short break to take in the view and get some water, we headed to the last two ziplines, including the final one: a free-fall, pendulum style zipline. I’ll admit I let out a short screech as I stepped backwards off the platform into that one, followed quickly by a sincere, “Wahoo!”

It was thrilling end to a fun afternoon, and before we were back in the car, the kids were asking when we could go ziplining again.

If you've ever watched a bird soaring high in the sky and imagined what it might feel like to fly, then ziplining is . well, probably a little too wild to match that peaceful scene!

It's more like a fast-diving falcon than a gracefully-gliding eagle. While ziplining can satisfy an adrenaline junkie's need for speed, it's also a great family activity and can be a fun new way to explore the outdoors - from above the ground.

My kids have wanted to try ziplining since they first sailed across a friend's backyard on a homemade zipline. They're relative lightweights, however, and many ziplining tours have a minimum weight requirement, so it took some searching to find the right fit. That fit turned out to be Alpine Adventures in Lincoln.

With three zipline tour options of varying challenge and level of "extreme," Alpine Adventures pitches its Treetop Tour as "perfect for families and first-time zippers," so we figured we'd give it a whirl.

When we arrived at Alpine Adventures' Main Street headquarters, we watched other kids work their way through the Thrillsville Aerial Adventure Park, which looked like a blast, and made a mental note to return and check that out.

Step one of our zipline outing was a weigh-in, required of all zippers, to make sure we were each within the 50-240 pound limit. Then we were outfitted with harnesses and helmets and boarded the 6x6 Pinzgauer that would take us 10 miles down the road, from a downtown bustling with tourists into Alpine Adventures' 300-acre forest enclave, home to Alpine's ziplining courses and off-road tours.

Even getting to the first zip tower seemed like an adventure, as the Pinzgauer - a military-style, open-sided truck with a motor the size of a small tractor - bumped over rocks and ruts on the narrow track into the forest.

Once there, our guides - who were a nice mix of funny, helpful, and informative - gave us a quick how-to and safety talk, tightened our harnesses, and sent us off, one by one, down the first zipline.

The kids were that butterflies-in-the-belly mix of excited and nervous at first, but there were big smiles after each zip, and they couldn't wait to get to the next one. Each of Alpine Adventures' tours has six separate ziplines. On the Treetop Tour, these range from 250 to 1,000 feet in length, with platforms 10 feet to 60 feet off the forest floor.

Between ziplines, we walked along wooded paths to get from one platform to the next. Although I-93 was just on the other side of the trees, it felt as if we were deep in the forest. Augmenting that feeling of remoteness was a visit to the Tree House, accessed by a narrow suspension bridge, after the fourth zipline. Built by Alpine Adventure guides a few years ago, this log structure on stilts - which raise it to the level of the tree canopy - is like something right out of the pages of The Swiss Family Robinson.

After a short break to take in the view and get some water, we headed to the last two ziplines, including the final one: a free-fall, pendulum style zipline. I'll admit I let out a short screech as I stepped backwards off the platform into that one, followed quickly by a sincere, "Wahoo!"

It was thrilling end to a fun afternoon, and before we were back in the car, the kids were asking when we could go ziplining again.


Outdoors

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