Ecotour company offering zip line tours over the Fitzsimmons
The half-inch galvanized steel cable is strong enough to hold more than 10,000 kilograms of weight, but it still looks kind of thin when youre perched on a platform more than 30 metres over a raging Fitzsimmons Creek.
On the longest zip line, which is about 350 metres from platform to platform, the engineers expect people to go as fast as 70 km/h before the slack in the line starts to slow your descent.
"You wouldnt believe the amount of engineering that goes into one of these things," said ZipTrek Ecotours owner and operator David Udow. "Its not just a matter of stringing a cable between two trees. You have to look at weight, acceleration, deceleration, stresses on the cable and equipment, all that kind of thing."
Unless youre resume includes a stint studying canopies in the Amazon rainforest, youve probably never been on a zip line before. You can find and ride zip lines at a few locations in North America, but theres never been anything like the setup that ZipTrek is building over the Fitzsimmons.
All told, a tour with ZipTrek will include five zip lines, which strung together would be more than 800 metres in length.
The first is just 22 metres long on the Blackcomb Mountain side of Fitzsimmons Creek, and will be used to show people how the lines and equipment work, and to get used to the idea of stepping off the platform.
The second line, stretching from the Blackcomb side to the Whistler side, is almost 120 metres long.
The third, which runs from Whistler to Blackcomb is about 260 metres long.
The fourth, the longest and highest of all the zip lines, is about 350 metres long, running from the Blackcomb side to Whistler side once again. The fifth and final line, which is 100 metes long, brings people back to Blackcomb.
Vans will be waiting to take the people back to the village, where its hoped they will sign up to do it all again.
ZipTrek is a new Whistler company owned and operated by Udow and Charles Steele. Steele and Udow grew up in Winnipeg together and were part of one anothers business ventures through high school and university before they went travelling. Both entrepreneurs ended up in Vancouver, working in technology consulting businesses.
After looking at ideas for different businesses that could combine their business skills with their love for the outdoors and adventure, they remembered the zip lines they saw while touring in Costa Rica and came up with the idea of combining a zip line tour with an educational ecotourism component.