Zipping Through the Trees in Pure Michigan

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Brian Confer, a contributing photographer for Michigan Travel Ideas, shares his zip lining adventure at Boyne Mountain.

Sometimes it seems like the whole world has turned upside down. On the Zipline Adventure Tour at Boyne Mountain, it really does.

On a wintry blue-sky day, my 13-year-old son, Jackson, and I journey to Boyne Mountain to capture photography of their Zipline Adventure Tour. Jackson zip-lined at camp this past year and assures me it’s exciting, fun and easy to go upside down.

Not for me, I assure him.

Jackson and I have a bit of time before we meet our group, so we don our harnesses and head to the Twin Zip Ride. With the Grand Mountain Lodge as a backdrop, we warm up by descending side-by-side.

Well, I warm up.

Jackson jumps off the platform and immediately flips upside down, descending at a high rate of speed, arms spread wide, laughing. We zip over the fountain, and I’m guided onto the landing platform—upright—and wait for my stomach to catch up.

Once all my parts are reacquainted, we join a group for the nine-line adventure. This group is more my speed—a gaggle of children, ages 6­–12, chaperoned by three dads. Surely there are no daredevil showboaters like my son here.

Ha! First up, a smiling 6-year-old girl dressed in pink. There she goes, upside down over the heads of skiers on the Cold Spring run. Next up, a 7-year-old boy who has our guide turn him upside down before he leaves the launch pad. Older brother, upside down. His friend from down the road, upside down. One father, two fathers, three fathers, all upside down. Obviously, I’m missing out on something that my camera gear regrettably (thankfully) prevents me from trying.

Over the next six lines, our guides demonstrate how to ride in every position imaginable and show us how to do a flip off the platform. Cheers erupt when every participant but me attempts the maneuver. “Too bad you have that camera gear! You should try it,” I hear repeatedly, until, finally on zip line No. 7, I decide they’re right.

I hand my camera gear to our guide and jump from the platform. I swing my legs forward, use the momentum to carry my feet over my head and then lock them around the supporting lanyard. I settle in, spread my arms and over the head of a skier below, the skier looking up at me, following my arc and hearing me laugh the entire way into the landing.


More Winter Zip Lines:

Brian Confer lives in northern Michigan with his wife and two sons. In addition to contributing to Michigan Travel Ideas, he focuses on fine art photography and other freelance work.