BY LISA PERKINS
— TRAVERSE CITY — The first step is a doozy.
“You just kind of have to jump and then it’s really fun,” said London Rauch after her first ride on Mt. Holiday’s new zipline, a station-to-station wire on which secured riders zoom downhill, far above the ground.
Avid snowboarder Rauch, 17, plans to bring her friends with her the next time she gives the sport a try.
The zipline is the latest attraction at Mt. Holiday, the nonprofit recreational area north of Traverse City, and is part of a plan to make the facility a year-round venture.
The two current ziplines, 288 feet down from and 330 feet back to the lodge, are the first of what Theresa Galante, Mt. Holiday’s executive director, hopes will be a 10-station zipline tour. The planned route will travel through a recently purchased 12-acre parcel on the backside of the ski area.
“This is just part of us thinking outside the box, bringing in people all year long,” Galante said. “We are just looking for sponsorships; it’s a very feasible option for us.”
The first-stage zipline opened just before Christmas, and was made possible by a grant from the Art and Mary Schmuckal Foundation.
Mt. Holiday’s new feature isn’t the area’s first zipline system.
Boyne Mountain’s Zipline Adventure Tour features a series of 10 lines that cover up to 4,300 feet. Zipliners travel at speeds of 20 to 25 miles per hour on lines up to 50 feet high and 780 feet in length during the three-hour trip.
The shorter Twin Zip Ride takes less than an hour.
“This is something that is great to do as a family or if the weather is not quite right for skiing. We run in anything short of lightening,” said Boyne Zipline supervisor Jason Fels.
In its sixth season, Fels said as many as 300 zipliners have taken the tour on a busy day.