A Zipline Guide’s Journey Begins…
I never really knew how a job working outdoors could be so full of excitement and adventure. A few years back, a close friend took me ziplining and I had the most fun I’ve ever had in my entire life (seriously, my entire life). I couldn’t think of anything more amazing than being able to spend my days cascading through mountain tops with the sunshine on my face and fresh air in my hair. So I took another big leap and applied to be a ziplining guide with AVA Rafting and Zipline. It was early season, so after a few weeks of waiting, and a few more rigorous interviews, I was accepted! My AVA journey then began with weeks of intense training, where I was literally learning the ropes and getting into the “swing” of things high above, and far away from, the hustle and bustle of Denver. I didn’t know it then, but being a zip guide was going to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life (outside of that first time, which I mentioned earlier).
A Typical Day Ziplining in the Colorado Mountains
Now as a tested and certified guide, my typical work day begins with a team “scrum” over coffee and breakfast with my coworkers at the outpost. I then stroll out from the outpost under the beautiful, warming, pine trees; wrapped in their unique, evergreen, butterscotch aroma. Before every tour, myself and the team scan the course, sweeping the lines for any debris that may have fallen recently, and double checking that all the safety equipment is good to go . Once our inspection is complete, we make our way back to the outpost to meet and educate the next group of adventurous guests. I enjoy getting everyone’s harness fitted properly before moving on to the nitty gritty; which is a brief chat about the major DO’s and DONT’s, and it’s always up to me to keep things light a funny while also insuring everyone knows how to enjoy the course safely. I always try to learn each persons’ name that comes to visit the course. I pick up on little details about everyone and integrate that into the tour to hopefully make the whole experience more personal and memorable. My favorite part, honestly, is just chatting with guests, educating people about my home, going over the unique flora and fauna, and cracking a joke here and there to mix up all the day’s adrenaline with a sense of affability.
A Little Adrenaline is a Good Thing
Although it can be a little stressful at times knowing I am responsible for every person that steps onto my platform, I’ve found it to be so rewarding in many ways. I’ve met unexpected celebrities, as well as interesting people from all over the world that share their own thrill-seeking experiences and unique, worldly, perspectives. I find comfort in helping people overcome lifelong fears as they face down our cliffside courses; or assisting people that need to check off one more tally on their thrill-seeking bucket list. It is so fulfilling to see people reach their goals. All this refreshing and unexpected interconnection I feel is priceless. With each subsequent leap I watch these people’s smiles grow bigger and bigger, and at the same time, my sense of pride grows.
Sometimes when I think about it, I’m in disbelief of where I am at, and at the same time, I can’t imagine my life any other way. My coworkers have turned out to be some of the best people I know; they are audacious and adventurous. I know I’ve found life long bonds that I will never forget. This job may be unconventional, but it is the best I have ever had. Most days it doesn’t feel like work. I get to experience and share nature from the mountain tops every single day, breathe fresh air and play in the trees. Who am I kidding? There is literally nothing that is better than beginning and ending my day ziplining hundreds of feet and leaving everything to the wind.
This is a true story from AVA Zipline Guide Mel Smith