Sure, zip lines looked fun to Jeff Victor. But the ones he saw all took too long, cost too much, and required lots of bug spray, sunscreen and inoculations against exotic jungle diseases.
So he built one himself.
That’s what happens when you’re the president of the Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas.
“Every time I saw one of these, they cost like $150 and took about four hours,” says Victor. “That’s a big chunk of time if you’re on vacation. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to have one of these run right down Fremont Street for people to just give it a try?’”
They’ve done more than given it a try. They’ve tried and tried it again and again.
“I’ve done it more than two dozen times,” says Vegas resident Dara Ness. “Whenever anyone comes from out of town, I always take them to do the zip line. My son Aden is 7 and he wants to do it every chance he gets. We just love it.”
Most of the world’s zip lines traverse jungle canopies or desolate landscapes. Urban zips have been gaining in popularity after a temporary zip line at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver earned raves.
But it’s difficult to imagine any urban zip line that will ever match the flashy pizzazz of the Fremont Street Experience.
Passengers scale a 65-foot tower and are strapped into a dangling harness. A gentle shove and gravity does the rest.
“You take off about 30 mph with the traffic 40 feet below your feet and then it’s into Fremont Street Experience where you’re practically surrounded by the largest video screen on the planet,” Victor says. “There’s a real celebrity exhibitionist factor to it. Everyone’s looking at you and waving. People are screaming and just having a blast. It’s a real special feeling.”
Cost: $15 during the day; $20 when the lights come on and the Vegas magic begins.
The zip line began making its first runs last October and has proven so successful Victor is announcing plans to extend it.
“We’re doubling the length and capacity,” he says. “We’re adding four more lines and adding another tower that’ll run for 1,600 feet. We hope to have the new lines open in February.”
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Chris Rodell is a Latrobe, Pa., contributor who blogs at www.EightDaysToAmish.com.
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