Commercial Zip Line – Facts You Should Know About Commercial Zip Line Rides
What You Need To Know When Considering A Commercial Zip Line For Your Site
A commercial zip line ride can bring in bigger crowds and higher revenues. Why? Because a commercial zip line invites adventure. It inspires freedom. It is sexy. Commercial zip line rides are becoming more popular and for good reason. For the sake of discussion, let’s set aside the advantages of Soaring Eagle Zip Lines for a moment and explore the conventional commercial zip line.
Commercial Zip Line – A Growing Popular Attraction
The commercial zip line has become a popular attraction at tourist destinations, especially those that offer great views such as canyons, ravines, rainforests and steep terrain. A commercial zip line offers visitors a unique and exciting way to experience the local scenery as they ride down the line from high up in the air.
You can build a commercial zip line on high trees, towers and steel poles. They offer an added attraction for potential visitors to come to your site and enjoy the views from great vantage points. Indeed, zip lines have become a favorite with travelers in many parts of the world. On social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, travelers often prominently display photos of their zip lining experiences.
According to one study for commercial zip line rides and canopy tours, the number of sites offering such attractions in the United States and Canada had increased from 10 in 2005 to 74 in 2009 (www.ziplinenirvana.com). The numbers do not include thousands of smaller zip lines that are used in private, non-commercial establishments.
Popular zip lines attract tens of thousands of riders a year, and they have the potential of significantly increasing revenues.
A professionally built zip line is safe and most accidents that one hears about in connection with zip lines happen on poorly-built structures run by amateurs.
What is a zip line?
A commercial zip line consists of a pulley mounted on a strong cable attached to anchors on an incline. A person rides in a “car” connected to the pulley using gravity to propel the user from the higher elevated launch point to the lower receiving end point.
The basic types of commercial zip line designs are:
- Tree Zip Line – Tree zip lines are popular in areas where the layout of the canopy makes zip lining possible. The trees should be sufficiently high enough and there must be enough clearance to create a zip corridor. Most tree zip lines utilize walk-up landings although some use the center dismount design. The structure requires careful examination of the trees that support the zip line and the walk-up landing necessitates precise planning and construction of platform, cable and cable drape. A professional arborist can check the health and strength of the trees to ensure that they can safely support the zip line structure.
- Pole and Steel Mount Zip Lines – These zip lines are completely artificial in design allowing for more flexibility in construction than with tree zip lines. You can also use poles together with trees for additional options in creating zip lines in forested areas. Some pole-mounted zip lines extend for thousands of feet across canyons, cliffs and other suitable areas.
- Walk-up Landing – The walk-up landing commercial zip line is the most popular option found at tourist sites. A walk-up landing requires professional installation in order to ensure user safety. The most important factor in the construction is creation of a zip line in which the car does not get stuck or does not gather too much speed near the end of the ride. The greater the length of the cable, the harder it is to predict the ride.
- Center Dismount – The center dismount zip line uses a platform or ladder to dismount riders near the center of the cable. With this type of construction, it is easier to predict the ride than with a walk-up landing. Accidents can happen with this type of zip line when anchors move during a ride or when guides leave the ladder out after dismounting a rider.
A commercial zip line uses three types of brakes: gravity brakes, hand brakes and active brakes. One of the fun aspects of zip lines is the speed the rider builds up while traversing down the cable. However, speed is also the main cause of accidents.
A gravity brake incorporates the design of the zip line to stop the rider. The layout is such that gravity will slow down or stop the rider before reaching the receiving end. The rider will either stop right at the landing platform or will slide backward toward the platform for dismounting.
Hand braking involves grabbing the cable with a gloved hand and stopping the car using the friction of the glove against the cable. Of course, the gloves used for hand braking must be very tough. This type of braking is not popular in the United States. If the rider for some reason is unable to grab the cable with their gloved hand, they will crash into the receiving platform.
Active braking uses some type of device to create a “soft landing” at the receiving end. Bungee, nets, cushions and tires are examples of active brakes. Active braking requires routine maintenance to ensure that the system is capable of stopping riders.
Zip Line Safety Concerns
A zip line ride installed by an experienced professional company is relatively safe so long as proper procedures are in place for use and maintenance.
Most accidents that occur on zip lines involve the following circumstances:
- Poor zip line construction
- Guides that are improperly trained or that do not follow safety procedures
- Riders engaging in risky behavior
- Poor zip line maintenance
A tree zip line constructed on old weak trees, for example, is a disaster waiting to happen. If you use active brakes, you must regularly inspect the system for wear-and-tear.
Is a commercial zip line right for me?
The best way to answer this question is to have a zip line company come to your property to conduct a feasibility study. They will check the site location to see if there is sufficient clearance for a zip corridor and to look for other necessary requirements.
In some cases, zoning regulations or other restrictions may prevent the construction of zip lines or require that such structures conform to specific minimum standards.
The construction of a commercial zip line has its costs, so you will need to assess whether such an attraction will yield any return on investment (ROI). In addition to installing the zip line, other expenses will include the guide staff, insurance and maintenance.
Commercial zip line rides continue to be an ever growing and very popular attraction. Soaring Eagle Zip Line rides securely rides riders without need to have a harness and only requires a single employee to operate. Call right now to see how your site is able to profit from a Soaring Eagle Zip Line Ride - (435)-571-0355. Or visit us at www.SoaringEagleZipLines.com.