Ok, here's a rant that's been percolating for a while. Adventure programming is awesome! As ziplines and adventure parks continue to gain in popularity, the allure attracts developers in venues both large and small. Am I saying this is a bad idea? Absolutely not. However, as one who lives & breathes adventure programming, we can't forget a very important point:
Done wrong, people are hurt or killed utilizing these activities!
Honestly, I believe construction of these projects is the easy part. It's a willingness to invest in the following that tell me how long you'll last (or if I'll read about you in the news!) A couple points to consider:
- Qualified staff – This starts from the top down. Somebody on site needs to be the qualified “expert” for their course. That person is responsible for the well being of everyone who touches that program – every participant, every instructor, etc. How thorough is the initial training for new staff? How are new staff supervised to ensure consistency in trained practices, policies, etc.? Are staff trained to handle emergencies on the course?
- Equipment maintenance/ replacement – All programs, especially high throughput ones like ours, has to expect equipment to wear out. Our 900' ziplines we built in 2013 experience over 20,000 zip cycles annually, using a powered hydraulic lowering system. Expect to spend money to replace equipment as you burn through it through normal use.
I understand this post is pretty short – I could spend a day just talking about gear selection. Bottom line – gravity always works, folks! By adding high adventure activities to your facility's lineup, be prepared to do it right. Over the long haul, you'll stand out from the crowd as a program to be respected and emulated, serving many happy participants for years to come.