Ziplining combines the best of being active outdoors, enjoying the views and getting your adrenaline pumping. You can go ziplining in many a forest in the world. But let’s be honest, it’s so much more fun when you do it on top of a mountain, overlooking a gorgeous city, more mountains, and the sea: on Grouse Mountain in Vancouver, BC.
On my recent trip to British Columbia with Virgin Atlantic, I was spoilt for choice when it came to activities and experiences. Of course I chose the ones with the most action, the active person that I am. Having chosen mountain biking and canoeing in Whistler, I didn’t have time to go ziplining there, and I had heard very positive reviews. So when I found out about ziplining being on the menu on Grouse Mountain, I saw it as my second chance, and took it.
Introducing ziplining on Grouse Mountain
Grouse Mountain, aka Vancouver’s peak, is visible from the city of Vancouver. At 1,200m height it is hard to miss it. There are plenty of reasons to take the Skyride gondola up to the peak: there is skiing and snowboarding in the winter (even night-skiing), lumberjack shows, the Eye of the Wind, great hiking, helicopter rides, bears in an enclosure, and of course, the zipline course! Who knows, you might even stumble into an open-air yoga event.
Once you’ve bought your ticket and filled in the waiver form (which feels a bit like signing your own toe-tag), you are fitted with a full-body harness that straps in your thighs, chest and shoulders and also covers your bum with a soft seat for a comfortable ride. Next, you put on your helmet and grab your zip wheel device. And don’t forget your sunglasses!
After a short safety briefing you are on your way to the first zipline! But before the action begins, it’s time for a bit of shenanigans: group photo! There’s a photographer taking pictures of your group and also of each and every participant on the first zipline, so make sure you put on a brave face for bragging rights in the future.
There’s a zipline for everyone
The zip menu offers two passes: taking a three-line tour, or a 5-line tour. I rode on 3 ziplines on the day. You zipline in groups or as an individual, but there are always two guides with you; one who will zip you into your line, and one that helps you off at the other end, so there is no need to be nervous or worry about what to do. What I found great was that every zipline was really a two-line circuit – two zippiness that ran in parallel. It is fun to ride with someone and even challenge each other on who will make it first to the end, trying different aerodynamic positions. And for the nervous nailbiters it provides a bit of comfort.
Take your zip position
At every zipline you receive instructions on the best riding positions to make the most out of every ride. Technically, everything is allowed apart from hanging upside down.
You can choose to go along with the suggested positions, or go for the comfortable option of just sitting and holding on to the bar and enjoy the (quite stunning) views. The zipline above was one of the fastest and longest, and really got my adrenaline pumping. There is quite a bit of impact at the end of the line; giant springs dampen the impact, but it is definitely worth remembering not to stick your tongue out between your teeth on impact if you want to keep it. Not to worry though, this is something your guide will remind you of before you take the ride.
You also do your bit to make the impact minimal on the other lines by pulling your knees up and putting your chin to your chest. Again, there is no need to worry about forgetting the landing position as your guide will remind you of it as you near the end of the line.
Grouse Mountain ziplining stands out in that you ride across the snow, between the tree tops, over lakes, canyones and ski runs. There are three ziplines on the plateau, and two more up on the very peak, which are accessible via the chair lift. The ziplines are up to 70m high and riders can reach speeds up to 80 km/h! Have a look at the video below:
- Appropriate footwear required (no open toed shoes)
- Participants must be between 32kg (70lbs) and 114kg (250lbs)
- Tours depart every half hour every day, from 10:00am to 6:00pm
- 5-Line Tours are available in summer green season, weather dependent
- $109 (inc. Skyride)
- $79 (Members)
- 3-Line Tours are available late fall through spring
- $70 (inc. Skyride)
- $40 (Members)
Getting to Grouse Mountain
Virgin Atlantic fly from London to Vancouver four times a week. Grouse Mountain (Skyride) is approximately a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver.
Would you go and try ziplining on Grouse Mountain? Have you gone ziplining before? Share your view in the comments section below.
Disclosure: This activity was part of my #WhyYVR competition win. My trip to Vancouver was courtesy of Virgin Atlantic and Tourism British Columbia. However, all opinions are my own.