This summer proved was a coming out party for zipline tours across the province, and Lake Country boasts one of the finest in the Okanagan.
Oyama Zipline Forest Adventure features six stations which vary in scenery, length, vertical drop and speed.
Owners Jennifer and Peter Madsen are busy completing a new kids play area on their 72-acre family attraction. The property is pet-friendly and also offers picnic areas and walking trails.
The Madsens were busy all summer, with sometimes up to nine tours a day, each filled with eight riders.
“With an easy online booking system, customers can browse exactly what’s available. Some days we were booked up solid and had to turn away carloads that drove up hoping to catch a tour,” said Jennifer.
The dismal early-summer weather didn’t seem to deter those wanting the adrenaline rush of ziplining. While many weather-dependent, tourism-based businesses were down this season, thrill seekers quickly learned ziplining in Oyama is feasible in almost any weather, said Peter. As such, the company will remain open through wine tour season and into October, but will operate only four days per week.
Oyama Zipline features seven different lines, with some reaching speeds of up to 85 km/h, yet the Madsens also place an emphasis on safety and variation. There is always one guide in front and one behind to ensure safety.
The course was created by the same designer that oversaw the popular SkyTrek Adventure Park near Three Valley Gap.
Instead of crossing back and forth across a canyon, or seeing only treetops, Oyama Zipline offers 180-degree lake views, with each station offering a different experience.
The first zipline station starts with a rope bridge, which, in itself, requires a bit of nerve to cross. The first tower is so high that a variance permit was needed to construct the take-off spot (it is higher than current District of Lake Country building allowances).
Securely anchored with cable, the rough-hewn timber towers are safe, but none-the-less they gently sway as adrenalin seekers prepare to take the leap.
Kids as young as six are able to enjoy the ride.
“We started the season conservatively, with a weight restriction minimum of 70 pounds. Things have gone so well we have now lowered the weight restriction,” said Peter. “There are no safety concerns for young or old, except a light-weight child may not make it a landing on the runs with less vertical-drop.”
In the rare occurrence that someone is stranded on the line, guides are able to quickly to perform a rescue and tow the rider back to a landing.
The last ride at the adventure is a dual line, the only one of its kind around. Ziplines 6 and 7 are parallel for more than 1,500 feet, making it possible to race a friend.
The Madsens and their staff are asking for input to help name each zipline run.