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I stood at the edge of the platform, the tips of my hiking boots poking over the wooden slats, and stared straight ahead at the spindly pines before me, willing myself not to glance down.
“Now, just swing around and face me so your body is dangling off the platform; then, you’re going to rappel down 40 feet to the next platform.”
I looked at my zipline guide, Ian, like he had just asked me to saw off my arm.
Seeing the daggers I was shooting him, he followed up quickly with, “It’s really not that far, and I promise, I’ve got you.”
I’ve done many ziplines and rappels — long ones, short ones, over fast rapids and down the sides of waterfalls. And yet, somehow, each time, my fear of heights comes rearing back anew.
To be fair, the rappel is a daunting starting point: After guests walk across a “sky bridge,” it’s the first stop on the Canopy Run zipline, part of the new Lost Forest adventure park in Snowmass, Colo. But I took a deep breath and hopped over the edge.
Two more sky bridges, two more rappels (one of which is the only diagonal rappel in the U.S.) and eight ziplines later, I’d completed the three-hour course — but not without a bang. The Canopy Run ends as it begins: with a heart-stopper. A 1,358-foot-long zipline leads to a tower some 90 feet off the ground — from which, naturally, you must rappel down.
To rest my jelly legs (but keep my blood pumping), I headed to the Breathtaker mountain coaster. Although it only reaches speeds of up to 28 mph, the ride is aptly named: It feels like a whole lot more when you’re twisting and turning downhill in a luge-like car on a narrow track.
It’s adrenaline junkie’s choice at the Lost Forest: Additional activities include the Treeline Trail ropes course, which takes place 40 feet above the ground; the Timber Territory paintball arena; and the 14-lane, 40-foot-high Rugged Ascent climbing wall. There’s also a stocked trout pond for catch-and-release fishing, an 18-hole disc-golf course, mountain biking routes and more than 35 miles of hiking trails.
(Note: The Lost Forest is open daily from June 22 to Sept. 3, then operates on weekends until Sept. 30. The Breathtaker will reopen Nov. 22 for the winter season.)
After a day spent saturated in Snowmass sunshine, my ride on the alpine coaster was the perfect sundowner. I was high on nature, and I didn’t care who knew: I let loose, howling and giggling as I flew through the trees.
The DetailsAspen Snowmasswww.aspensnowmass.com