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Posted Nov 13, 2012 @ 9:14pm

Zipline Safety

By John Marhoefer

Zipline Safety is important to everyone. When Vail Resorts needed someone to rebuild and certify their famous Heavenly Flyer zipline, they turned to Entech. With our proven and extensive engineering and fabrication expertise in safety critical thrill rides we were a perfect fit for an organization focused on both safety and guest experience.

The newly revamped zipline experience reopens in 2013 at the South Lake Tahoe resort in California, enabling riders to experience the rush of racing down the mountain at speeds approaching 50 mph while enjoying a spectacular view of Lake Tahoe. What they won’t know is the new retrieval system and other features created by Entech enhance their safety while they enjoy the excitement of the half mile plus zipline.

Increasingly, zipline safety is garnering the attention of regulatory agencies, professional organizations, and large corporate clients. Due to the growth of the zipline market the ASTM F-24, the ASTM Technical Committee on Amusement Rides and Devises, has created a subcommittee to write a zipline standard.

Just this past October 2012, the ASTM F-24 Sub-committee on zipline standards met in Reno Nevada and published their initial draft standard for public comment – an important step on the road to ASTM adoption of a formalized standard for the design, operation, inspection and maintenance of ziplines.  This standard, when adopted, can be expected to become an integral part of state regulatory requirements for owners and builders of zipline systems.

Currently, ASTM F-24 contains applicable standards relating to ride systems in theme and amusement parks.  Since we have engineered and fabricated rides and controls in theme parks for decades, we are unusually familiar with the standard safety and engineering requirements.  We incorporate them into our design process in the normal course of our work.

Still, the ASTM committee’s recognition of the need for a zipline standard is an overt acknowledgment of two things:

1. The industry must regulate itself before government undertakes to do it for us.

2. Safety is the primary goal and comes about through sound engineering and fabrication practices.

As ziplines become ubiquitous the focus on safety and reliability will increase. Professionally engineered and built systems will be vital for successful long term installations.

To meet this demand, the engineers at Entech have applied their long history with safe implementation of engineered ride systems in the theme park industry, to the design of zipline systems. The growing zipline market demands and needs our expertise and experience; therefore, our expansion into zipline technology and implementation is a natural fit for us.  In response, we have developed several new and innovative zipline designs created to address the unique needs of each demographic segment within the market.

However, all that: the ASTM standards, the engineering, the focus on safety, the quality fabrication and installation, will not be what the guests take away with them.  They will only know they had a wonderful time.  And that is the way we designed it.  Stay tuned!

   (Photo above: Engineer Steven Lansrud with steel posts for zipline launch platform)

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