Get Hooked on Indiana’s Zipline Craze
1. Many Hoosiers got their introduction to ziplining during Super Bowl XLVI, when nearly 10,500 visitors rode the 800-foot-long attraction over Capitol Avenue. Entrepreneurs took notice, and today, there are at least 17 ziplines throughout the state.
2. Biologists popularized zipline usage in the Americas as a minimally invasive—and speedy!—way to get to and fro in the jungle.
3. Indiana does not regulate these structures (like it does carnival rides). Instead, operators take their cues from insurance companies and one of two standard-setting membership bodies: the Association for Challenge Course Technology and the Professional Ropes Course Association.
4. Call ahead. Age, height, and weight restrictions vary, and short runs close to the ground are well-suited for children. Mooresville’s automated Soaring Eagle Zip Line, for instance, pulls riders along. At other locations, physics does the work, and it’s just you flying fast and sort of free—you’ll wear a harness and helmet.
5. Some ziplines cross open spaces, from pole to pole. Others run under a forest canopy, from tree to tree. True thrill-seekers will want the rush of whooshing through tight, leafy nooks at 20 to 45 miles per hour. (Think of the speeder bikes in Return of the Jedi.)
7. Look around, especially during fall-foliage season, a great time to go ziplining. “People tend to look straight ahead,” says Cori Hallett of Indiana Zipline Tours in Crawfordsville, “but they miss such beautiful scenery.” At Hallett’s high-adrenaline operation, tucked into a wooded, 60-acre spread, it takes about two hours to complete the large course with a group, so you’ll have time to appreciate the views from different platforms while waiting your turn.
8. But don’t open your mouth. Bugs, man. Bugs.
9. At some destinations, such as Mooresville, daredevils can ride in pairs. Hallett calls Indiana Zipline Tours’s 2,000-foot tandem plunge “Couples Therapy” or “The Widowmaker.” It just depends on what kind of day you’re having, she says.
10. Speed is great, but eventually, you’re going to want to stop. With active braking, the rider slows by squeezing a hand-brake. A passive system absorbs the rider’s inertia at the end of a line. You’ll learn all of this in pre-flight school.
11. Ultra competitive? Look for a dual racing zip, like White River Zip Lines and eXplore Brown County.