New Peachland attraction requires leap of faith

ZipZone Adventures' newest attraction has taken the fear of heights to a new level.

ZipZone Adventure staff member Sietske Van Der Heyde climbs The Leap of Faith: The newest attraction at ZipZone in Peachland.



ZipZone Adventures’ newest attraction has taken the fear of heights to a new level.

The Leap of Faith gets adventure-seekers to climb an 80-foot pole, which sits on the edge of a 300-foot canyon.

Once at the top, participants can jump from the edge of the platform and enjoy a 20-foot free fall before a safety device kicks in and slowly brings them back down.

“It’s going to be, I think far and away, the scariest thing that anybody has ever done,” said ZipZone president Kevin Bennett.

“It is a genuinely frightening experience, and that’s what ZipZone is all about.”

Bennett said he thought of the concept while attending a trade show in Orlando.

“I’m constantly looking around for new adventure activities to do; we’ve looked at a number of different things that we can do in this canyon,” said Bennett.

“I saw this device and immediately went: ‘Yep, I know what I can do with that.’

“As far as I know, we’re the only people in the world to have deployed this particular device in the way that we’ve got it.”

It took ZipZone about three months to acquire all the appropriate permits from the BC Safety Authority. Bennett said they had to create a new category to accommodate The Leap of Faith.

All climbers wear harnesses and are connected to an auto-belay device. If they slip, or want to take a break, the device will hold their weight to prevent them from falling.

The pole features two sets of climbing grips, which were created by Kelowna-based Red Point Climbing Holds. Novice climbers are encouraged to use all of the grips, while more experienced climbers can challenge themselves by only using the orange holds.

Once at the top of the attraction, a ZipZone staff member connects the guest’s harness to a quick jump device for the free fall canyon jump.

Bennett said it will likely take the average climber three to five minutes to ascend the pole.

“Anyone can do it, but it is a very nerve-wracking experience.

“I think it’s a mental challenge, and that’s really what we’re offering people: The ability to be terrified in a safe environment.”

The ZipZone president admitted he has yet to complete The Leap of Faith.

“All of my staff are trained and have climbed it.

“As soon as they start mocking me for not doing it, then I’ll go and do it.”

The Leap of Faith experience costs $59, or $49 if the visitor is also doing a zipline tour.

***

Naked zipline to raise money for breast cancer awareness

 

ZipZone Adventures is encouraging women to Go Bare in the Air for breast cancer research.

The annual fundraising event will once again gather money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Last year 63 women attended and raised $25,000.

“We would love to better that this year,” said Kevin Bennett, ZipZone president.

This year’s event takes place June 19. The park will be closed to the general public.

For more information, visit zipzone.ca.

wpaterson@kelownacapnews.com

Twitter: @PatersonWade

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