Piste Off: Family Vacation Saved by Zip Line Tour.

PARK CITY, UTAH— Grinning with satisfaction, Ohio resident Zachary Ridgewald, declared his third annual family ski trip a “huge success” this past Wednesday.

“We’ve been trying to make this enjoyable for everyone for a couple years now,” admits Ridgewald. “This year though, we invested heavily in zip line tours and it paid off.”

The Ridgewald’s aren’t alone. Mountain zip line tours have recently exploded in popularity with resorts hungry to offer experiences that might make the outdoors more appealing to non-traditional customers. The resulting surge has lured dozens of families like the Ridgewalds into the high-alpine zip line experience.

“It was a lot easier to fit our kids into harnesses than to put them into ski boots,” says Ridgewald. “And we didn’t waste all of our time with lessons, we just got right into the action.”

Zip line tours, for the uninitiated, are high altitude adventures where participants stand patiently in line waiting for the chance to move from one fixed point to another via a cable, pulley, and harness. They’re part of what some ski areas are calling a “soft entry” into outdoor fun, as opposed to more demanding activities, like skiing or snowboarding.

“We feel like the twisted mass of cables helps comfort visitors from the nihilistic emptiness of the open sky,” says Zip Line Adventure Ambassador Jarod Frenchuck. “It’s a beautiful way for children to experience the wind in their faces.”

Frenchuck has been guiding zip line tours for three years now, and claims he doesn’t plan on quitting anytime soon.

“I keep doing this because of everything that zip lining teaches me,” adds Frenchuck. “It’s an incredible lesson in humility. Imagine, hanging from a cable with no control, and knowing only technology can save you. I love sharing that with people like the Ridgewalds.”

It’s that same passion that drove Arthur Ramwell, owner of Mountain Accessories INC, into the business of cable-guided fun.

“With zip lines, we’ve managed to turn mere mountains into amusement parks,” says Ramwell. “We’ve broken down the barriers between man and nature here, and we’re proud of it.”

According to Ramwell, zip line sales are sky rocketing, not just at ski areas, but at road side attractions across the country. Ramwell says that thanks to clever wooden towers, zip lining is possible wherever there is room for a few trailers and some tower bases. It’s this accessibility in zip lining that has the Ridgewald Family gearing up for there next vacation—a zip line adventure at Oklahoma’s Sky Farm.

“Zip lines are great, and it turns out they don’t even have to be at ski hills,” smiles Ridgewald. “Sky Farm in Oklahoma looks like they have some great zippers, and they have laser tag. It’s hard to find that combo in Utah.”

**Piste Off is Bomb Snow’s new weekly satire column aimed at poking fun at the sports we all love. Bomb Snow’s “Piste Off” is a fictionalized, satirical publication. Its content should in no way be interpreted as an actual record of events. These stories are also not intended to be, nor should they be construed as, attempts to predict the future course of any individual or entity, but should be viewed only as parody. Piste Off is not associated with any other news service. Names used in “Piste Off” stories, unless those of public figures or entities, are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or entities is coincidental, unintentional, and accidental. Any event described in Bomb Snow’s “Piste Off” that actually comes to pass should also be considered coincidental, unintentional, and accidental. 

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