There are rites of passage in every culture around the world: bar mitzvahs, quinceaneras, the time your dad tells you that this is the last time he’s going to bail you out of jail — but this time is really the last time and he’s not kidding so don’t even try it, okay, kid? One of the least talked about rites of passage is your first trip on a zip line.
I took my first (and so far, only) zip line journey in a place known for many other rites of passage: Vegas. We were shooting our very first episode of Trip Testers since the pilot and spent an evening on historic Fremont Street where you can soak up the very colorful crowd with an oversized frozen drink and follow it up with a ride on SlotZilla, the massive zip line that flies 1,750 feet over the entire Fremont Street Experience. I’m not one for things that suspend me from harnesses, but I’ll give most things a shot and wound up strapped in to the “Zoom Line” that starts 114 feet above the ground.
The cool thing about SlotZilla (besides the aggressively Japanese monster-sounding name) is that you ride it Superman-style with your head first so it feels a little bit like you’re actually flying. The harness wrapped tightly around your body reminds you that you’re not, indeed, Superman, but nobody will judge you for pretending.
You start on a raised mat that lowers when you’re about to launch. After the pad lowers, they also take down the metal barrier separating the launch area from the actual zip line. You look out and see the fun (or not fun, depending on who you are) debauchery of Fremont St. below and start to wonder if you should really be risking your life in this way.
Once you actually shoot out onto the zip line, the whole thing is really peaceful. It’s more of a glide then a hurtling-through-space feeling. Watch out for the end, though, as you will be stopped out of nowhere in a way that feels like your bones are trying to escape your skin. Physics or something, right?
The whole thing costs between $25 and $45, depending on which line you go on (there’s a lower one available) and what time of day ($45 is the high line at peak nighttime hours). Should you do the Vegas zipline? That depends on you, my friend. It’s a relatively low price for a somewhat dangerous activity, although it only lasts for a minute or two. It’s certainly a unique experience, though. If you’re cool with paying nearly $50 for the chance to rocket over a bunch of drunk people in Vegas, then this is definitely for you. I’m glad I did it — and never have to do it again.