Wildcat readies launch of ‘ZipRider’

Wildcat Mountain Ski Area will add air travel to its list of summer activities this weekend when it opens its new zip-line thrill ride.

On Saturday, July 21, visitors to the Pinkham Notch resort will get the chance to take to the skies over Wildcat via “ZipRider,” a cable-based ride that suspends harnessed visitors up to 70 feet above the trails and tree-tops of the mountain and the Peabody River.

ZipRiders will travel two at a time on cables strung parallel to each other. Reaching speeds up to 45 miles per hour, they will descend 2,100 feet from the northern most point of Wildcat’s main parking lot on a 12 percent grade.

Wildcat’s Snowcat Triple Chair will carry visitors to the top of ZipRider, located just below the top of the Snowcat chair.

Created by Wyoming-based Terra Nova LLC , the ZipRider makes use of a specialized trolley that allows for automatic braking as travelers descend down the cable.

Construction on the Wildcat project began in early May, following the close of the 2006-2007 ski season. Numerous storms delayed its completion, however.

“We’re about a month behind schedule,” said Tom Caughey, spokesperson for Wildcat. “People are really ready for this. We still have a lot to do but at this juncture it looks like we should make it.”

Riders on Wildcat’s newest attraction must weigh between 75 and 250 pounds. Cost for the half-mile ride is $19. A second trip will cost $10.

Wildcat’s ZipRider is among only six in the world. Utah is home to the four original ZipRiders, and another is under construction in Alaska. Construction of a ZipRider in Siberia will follow the completion of Wildcat’s. – TRACIE STONE

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