Thursday, July 16, 2020

Break out of the Covid duldrums with a thrilling Tamarack zipline adventure

Hi all,

The adrenaline and excitement started for me before I even arrived at Tamarack Resort this afternoon for a zipline adventure. And that felt great -- what a welcome break to do something exciting during these weird times with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The last time I did a zipline tour was in the jungle in Costa Rica to cap off a week-long whitewater paddling adventure. On that trip, we did zips through the jungle, landed on top of a waterfall, and then rappelled down the face of a flowing waterfall. That definitely took me out of my comfort zone! The water was very warm, but the footing was definitely slippery!

We had six people and two guides in our group today at Tamarack Resort. We were all masked up as we checked in at the Sports Dome, got our zipline harnesses on, and got an orientation talk from our fun guides, Austin and Bryant. We took the Tamarack Express chairlift to mid-mountain to begin our adventure.

We started with a couple of "baby zips," and then things ramp up to some really fast, long spans across the deeply forested canyons in the folds of West Mountain. 

"If you scream all the way across you'll have more fun," Austin advised.

Everyone had a blast. I felt nervous at first, but I knew the guides had me in all of the proper safety gear to hold me as I zipped across the canyons. There are eight zip spans altogether and two suspension bridges to experience as part of the tour. You hike on Tam trails in between most of the zips.

After the third or fourth zip, one of the tricky maneuvers is on a deck after you've landed from a zip. To get to the next zip, we all had to rappel off that deck about 20 feet or so. It's definitely a "leap of faith" to trust the system and drop off the deck. My ride down was kind of a goofy as there was some extra slack in the rappel line, and I kind of bounced off the deck before whirly-birding down to the landing. I probably didn't step off correctly in the first place. Good thing for the safety harness! I heard the guide mutter that one customer had taken 20 minutes of coaxing to drop off that deck. 

Following that little maneuver, we did a zip called "Leap of Faith" because there is no runway whatsoever, just leap off the deck and go! With each zip, I felt more comfortable and thoroughly enjoyed the rides, watching the trees whiz by, taking a quick glance of Lake Cascade below, and just enjoying the beautiful scenery all around you at Tamarack Resort.

I tended to spin around backwards on several zips, approaching the landing deck backwards, which wasn't really my first choice. But I didn't really figure out how to control my spins all that well. The guides will still catch you, no matter which way you land. On my last 3 zips, I spun around 360 degrees, and landed facing forward. Much better~!

Overall, we dropped 3,500 vertical feet on the eight zip spans. Totally thrilling ride all the way. I highly recommend it.
Tamarack zip tours cost $109 plus tax per person. Groups of six or more save 20 percent. Our trip took two hours on the nose. Tamarack has morning and afternoon trips available.

While you're at Tamarack, you might try their excellent mountain bike trails, especially the long, entertaining trails off the top of the Tamarack Express lift. We saw a lot of people riding the trails today, but there's still plenty of elbow room. Tamarack also has waterfront services and raft trips on the Cabarton section of the North Fork of the Payette River.  

More information at

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