Zipping Through Mid Michigan

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Some zip line segments take you far above valleys and wetlands.

I flew through the air at a zip line tour at Snowsnake in Harrison, Michigan last fall.  How did I like it? Well, enough to purchase tours for my two kids and their spouses.  It was a blast.  A fast blast.  Fast in that you fly down 10 zip lines, but also fast in that the experience is over in less than an hour.  That mean the tour will cost you about $55 hour with only a short portion of that time spent in the air.  However, if you look at it as an experience you won’t repeat that often, if at all, then it may be an experience well worth the money.

Snowsnake is a golf and ski resort located just east of US-27 at the Mannsiding Road exit, between Clare and Harrison in central Michigan.  The resort has been around for many decades but the zip line tour is a recent addition to the resort.  I went last fall with Mark, a friend of mine who lives up here and is always up for an adventure.

We made reservations and were put in a class with six other people.  Some, like Mark and me, were newbies when it came to zip lining.  Others had done it before.  Our instructors were two college aged kids who had worked at the resort for several years and who believed they had one of the best jobs in the world.  And after I had zipped the course, I had to agree.  It would be fun to get paid to zip.

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Our instructor gives us the rundown on proper use of the equipment.

Our instructors had us sign waivers and took us the rules and then helped us climb into the harnesses and fasten on the helmets.  Then we boarded a van for a 5 minute trip up the mountain and a practice zip line that was short in length and close to the ground.  Nothing to it, other than having faith in one’s harness and the zip line cable.  Just take a breath, yell “Geronimo,” and step off the platform.  Gravity does the rest.

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Mark takes off into the great unknown for the first time.

Once in the air, you can look around, take photos, scream, cry or try to figure out how to go straight.  There is a knack to going straight and not spin as you zip. Sadly, I did not get  the knack and finished the various segments facing in various directions, which can make stopping a bit of a challenge and also  embarrassing when you are coming in for a landing backward and spinning wildly.  There is sand at the end of the each run for you to dig your feet into (if you can), or you can just hold on and the tires at the end of the cables will stop you so the instructor can stand you up and get you unhooked from the cable.

That’s all there is to it. Zip, walk to the next platform and zip again, all the way down the mountain.   Since only one person can zip at a time, there is an opportunity to talk to other participants, the guides and enjoy the outdoors. And as you zip, you also get a chance to enjoy the scenery around and below you.

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While you can sometimes stop by digging your feet in the sand…

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The sand below doesn’t always stop you, but the tires overhead do.

The last segment is one of the best.  It’s a dual line so you can race your companion or just relax and chat with them as you head down the mountain to the final stop, which is at the resort and just a quick walk to the car to head for home–or to grab the clubs for a round of golf.

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Two participants zip down the final segment.

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