I don’t want to lie to you – I was having secret panic attacks at the thought of Ziplining 2K across a huge forest at 80mph. They had to be secret as I wasn’t about to let my kids know how much of a wuss I was : I teach them to be brave on a daily basis and I did not want to give them ammo for future conversations. However, this didn’t stop me praying last nights lightning storm on Lake Maggiore had taken out the power at the Zipline station, or that the only road up the mountain had been torn up by storm debris. And is it so wrong that I wished for overnight gastroenteritis to plague us all?
*Incidentally, my son was sleep talking the night before and I’m sure I heard him say ‘it’s too high, I can’t do it’, either he was struggling to change a light-bulb in his dream, or I wasn’t the only one having second thoughts!*
So, what was it like? Did I need my hip flask of Brandy? Would I do it again?
pin for later…
Lake Maggiore Zipline
The Intrasca Valley, just west of Lake Maggiore, is a densely forested section of mountains which have given life to many tiny little villages for centuries. As you ascend the mountain to The Nest, where your zipline adventure begins, you weave your way through rustic villages and towns, regularly passing farmers with a lone goat or donkey. The pace of life is slow and a complete contrast to the flying experience you’re about to have. Up at The Nest however, you get the impression that people like to linger at this alpine lodge, if only to sit on a lounger and enjoy the views. And, by all accounts the restaurants food is pretty excellent too and the hot chocolate is to die for. Nevertheless, despite there being plenty of activities on offer we were only there for one thing; to prove to each other we were brave enough to fly through the trees at colossal speeds.
Note: The Nest is also the hub for other mountain activities like guided hiking, rock climbing, horseback riding, wild mushroom hunting and mountain biking. All information can be found on their website.
After signing our life away on a disclaimer form we all jumped in the van for a 15 minute journey to the top of the cable. This car journey is not for the faint hearted and if you can survive those 15 minutes you are absolutely ready for your zipline adventure. Several miles of hairpin bends with the driver constantly on his horn (the only way to alert oncoming vehicles), you climb higher and higher and when the morning mist cleared in patches we got some glimpses of the epic views we were about to enjoy at the top. Incidentally, our guide told us to look out for caves along the road – man-made holes dug by first world war soldiers. This mountain range was the first line of defense against the Austrians and village men pulled together to use their local knowledge of the mountains to their advantage.
Once at the top my adrenaline was coursing and I was so excited to get rigged up. A few minutes later we were ready to fly*. You are fixed into your harness on a platform very close to the edge and now might not be the best time to look down. But, once that carabiner is released, that’s it – you are off! 350 metres above the ground, with the trees of LEGO proportions, all your fears fall away and you are left with the most euphoric feelings ever. The glide is so smooth and my harness was so comfortable I forgot I was even strapped in, my husband on the other hand had a terrible frontal wedgie which I’m sure must have distracted him somewhat from 100% enjoyment (note to fella’s – adjust your groinal area pre-flight for the ultimate flying adventure!).
The views are epic and it’s a full 100 seconds of waterfalls, forests, peaks and valley’s, think pterodactyl perspective in Jurassic Park, Hawaii. I was so pleased I had the go-pro (available to rent) strapped to my wrist because I could not wait to show off the views we had. Plus 80mph in your face can take years off those wrinkles and frown lines!
After 100 seconds of sheer exhilaration we ended our flight with a very smooth landing and a grin on my face which took hours to fade. If only every morning could start like this. (I am thinking of erecting a cable from our bedroom window to my garden office). So was it worth it? Every penny! And if we’d not got to get to Milan for lunchtime I would definitely have begged for another go!
*you do have the option of sitting in your harness but when someone is handing me an opportunity to learn what its like to soar like an eagle I am absolutely going to lie down on my belly and pretend my arms are wings – who wouldn’t!?
Here’s The Details…
- a single flight costs €35, €60 in pairs or €48 per pair if part of a family (peak season may vary)
- check in at least 30 minutes before flight time
- minimum height; 120cm
- weight; min – 35kg, max – 120kg
- there is nowhere to place your mobile phone in the harness (i put mine in my trouser leg! I was wearing skinny jeans and the harness also covers the top of your thighs so it was impossible to move it)
- for more information visit their website : www.maggiorelakezipline.it
*Lago Maggiore ZIPline gifted us our tickets but all opinions are my own.
If you’re visiting more of the Italian Lakes then you might want to take a look at my other post…