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Hundreds of commercial cable-and-pulley setups are sprouting up all over.

He came flying down the third zip line – a steep, 1,025-foot-long ride – in 20 seconds flat, a big smile frozen on his face. Spending the morning on this new zip line course on a rugged mountainside above Wallace was a birthday gift from his daughters, three of whom joined him for the adventure. The Zipline Tours opened June 1 with a six-line course just north of this historic Silver Valley mining town. About 1,200 customers – some from as far away as Italy and Belgium – have done the course so far, and the business is putting in a second course that will include a dual racing zip line stretching 1,800 feet down the mountain. 
Hundreds of commercial cable-and-pulley setups such as this are sprouting up all over the United States and Canada. Schweitzer Mountain Resort near Sandpoint added a zip line a year ago, and Whitefish Mountain Resort north of Kalispell recently expanded its course to seven lines. The lines, which use gravity to pull riders down slopes, over tree canopies and across canyons, are growing in popularity for families on vacation, eco-tourists and locals looking for fun.
They’re becoming an all-season pursuit as well, with more ski areas running zip lines in winter and summer. “The commercial zip line industry has grown tremendously since the first commercial zip lines opened in the early 2000s,” said James Borishade, executive director of the Association for Challenge Course Technology in Deerfield, Ill. About 320 venues operated in the U.S. and Canada in 2011, Borishade said. Those included commercial zip lines, canopy tours and aerial trekking facilities. The number of zip line businesses in the U.S. has roughly doubled since 2010.

An exhilarating experience on high-wire thrill rides. He came flying down the third zip line – a ...


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