Radio Field Trip: Ziplining in the Lakes Region

Aug 8, 2018

For this week’s Radio Field Trip, we’re going on an adventure that isn’t for the faint of heart. That’s because we’re ziplining at Gunstock Mountain Resort in Gilford.

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(Editor's note: we highly recommend listening to this story.)

This tour is one of the longest in the United States with a series of ziplines totaling over a mile and a half.

Jennifer Karnan is the Communications Coordinator at Gunstock. She says it’s going to be quite the thrill.

“You can get up to 65 mph,” Jennifer says. “Some people exceed that depending on weight and such. It’s amazing."

But before we get to the big zipline, the guides make sure we’re comfortable with the equipment.

We step into our harnesses and put on our helmets. They give us a backpack that weighs about 30 pounds. It carries the trolley that connects us to the ziplines.

The first zipline’s not so scary. It’s a place to practice. It’s only a few feet off the ground.

The guides explain that we control our speed on the line by pulling on a bar above our heads.

The second practice line is much higher with a 40-foot vertical drop.

Next we ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain.

“What I always tell people at the top if they’re feeling a little nervous is if you look over to your left, you’ll see the line from the Panorama chairlift and it’s parallel to the chairlift,” Jennifer says. “So you know it’s pretty much the same thing only you’re going just way faster.”

We’re at the top of the summit. It’s time for the Recoil Zipline, the biggest of the five lines on this tour. It’s nearly 4,000 feet long with an almost 700-foot vertical drop.

Fifteen-year-old Ryan Connolly stands in line before me. This is his third time ziplining at Gunstock, and he’s certainly ready to go with a camera strapped to his helmet.

“The thrill, the excitement -- it’s not something you do everyday,” Ryan says.

Ryan says you have to go all out, as fast as you can.

I look out at the top of the zipline at a gorgeous view. There are valleys of trees along the mountainside. I can almost see the outline Mount Washington through a hazy mist in the distance, and the view of Lake Winnipesaukee is just stunning.

The guide hooks me up to the line. I look over the edge of the platform, and my adrenaline starts pumping.

One of the guides counts down – 1, 2, 3, and then I’m soaring through the sky. The wind is whipping against my face. I enter a valley and I’m surrounded by trees.

Then suddenly I emerge, and I can see the end of the track below.

“We do get a lot of people here that are here to specifically conquer a fear of heights or a general anxiety about adrenaline oriented adventures,” Jennfer says. “Hit the zipline and then maybe go skydiving or maybe go bungee jumping after that.”

I don’t know if I’m ready for that, but this was really fun.