Ziplines originally were invented for just two functions: sneaking hamburgers over the Berlin Wall and zazzing up presidential entrances to State of the Union addresses. Practice grand entrances with today's Groupon: for $125, you get a ziplining experience for two people at Zip Tahoe at Kirkwood Mountain Resort (a $250 value).
Zip Tahoe's 2.5-hour winter ziplining tour grants guests stunning canopy views as they cruise down six sturdy cables overlooking Kirkwood Ski Resort. Groups of 4–10 riders make their way to the first platform via chairlift, enjoying breathtaking views of the Sierra mountains as they cruise above skiers, snowboarders, and adolescent reindeer taking Santa's sleigh for a joy ride. Riders then strap into harnesses before whizzing along 400 feet of cable to a 12’x12’ platform, where a gravity system helps them to slow to a halt. Two sky bridges intersperse zips, giving gliders a chance to enjoy canopy sights from 75 feet up without crashing a squirrel monkey’s couch. Groups can sip on steamy cups of complimentary hot chocolate upon descent.
The designers of Zip Yosemite, Experience Based Learning, focuses on adventure and safety in building their courses, but they also take care to look after the environment. The company uses Professional Ropes Course Association–accredited builders, who anchor single cables to trees using the Eco-Wrap system, a bolt-free method that doesn't pierce the tree and invite criticism from its grandparents. Using this system, the company can string six ziplines up to 1,000 feet long at heights of up to 80 feet through the aromatic canopies of incense cedars and ponderosa pine trees. Guides take visitors darting down these single-cable paths and across three suspension bridges. Then, they rappel toward the forest floor at one of two rappelling stations. As visitors glide through the forest, they can catch glimpses of wildlife as well as the Fresno Dome and other natural rock formations.