The Routt to Adventure: Ziplining on Rabbit Ears Pass (with video)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Zipline Adventures is a hidden gem of the Yampa Valley. It’s quite figuratively hidden, since not many know it’s there, but I mean to say it’s also physically hidden.
Getting to the zipline course isn’t difficult once you know where you’re going. Heading up Rabbit Ears Pass, take a right after mile marker 140. That’s it. Super simple. The trick is not listening to your GPS and not looking for a sign. The GPS lies, and there is no sign. Ask them why when you get there.
Once at the course, the guides will make sure you get exactly where you need to be from there on out. The guides and equipment do all the work for you. The most work required of you is lifting your legs as you approach the end platforms. The equipment even does all the stopping for you. While it’s a little abrupt at times, at least I didn’t have to learn how and when to stop, which I can imagine, would take away from the experience.
There are six ziplines on the course, the third line is the longest at nearly 1,400 feet. The guides ask you to hold on to the handlebars or grips for all but two of the runs. The fourth and fifth lines are what they call freestyle lines. On the fourth, they show you how to go upside down (basically you just lean back). The brush seems to fly by faster when you’re staring at the sky. I was only upside down for a few moments.
The views were compromised by the smoke coming in from wildfires, but any other time, the views of the valley would be far more impressive.
One part of the entire experience might get to the more fearful percentage of the population. Two of the lines end at a tall platform without stairs. To get down, you jump. You jump while attached to an auto-belay system. The guides make you feel safe and confident as you take a committed step outwards and the auto-belay system slowly lowers you with little jostling.
What to bring
Your phone: If you’re smart, you won’t lose it. Maybe keep the ringer on loud just in case, though. I kept mine in the waistband of my pants and had no issues. Sealed pockets or even a fanny pack would work, too. The guides also have bags they can store a phone in temporarily. If you don’t want to bring your phone, the guides were kind enough to offer to take video and send it to you.
Closed-toed shoes: This isn’t a suggestion, it’s a specific request of Steamboat Zipline Adventures.
Capris or pants: Shorts would be fine, but the harness might bunch them up. Opting for workout pants, I didn’t have to worry if the harness pulling my shorts and revealing something that shouldn’t be visible.
What to leave at home
Chapstick, wallet, keys: I know you can’t leave those at home, but leave them in the car. You don’t want anything in your pockets. As for your keys, the office will gladly hold them while you’re on the course.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Steamboat Free Summer Concerts announced Friday that it will return live music to the Yampa Valley this summer in the form of two concerts scheduled for August and September.