Heavenly’s Epic Discovery program: Ultimate outdoor summer playground at Lake Tahoe (video) | SierraSun.com

Heavenly’s Epic Discovery program: Ultimate outdoor summer playground at Lake Tahoe (video)

J.P. Kelsey
Kevin and Kyle Maul, of El Dorado Hills, finish up a ride down the Blue Granite zip line at Heavenly's Epic Discovery summer activity program.
J.P. Kelsey / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Heavenly Mountain Resort might have hung up its skis in the spring, but the summer adventure season is underway.

Heavenly’s Epic Discovery program at Lake Tahoe will have you doing anything from zip lining and tubing to climbing a rock wall and navigating ropes courses. And, of course, you have to take the gondola to the top of the mountain to do all of this. One you get up there, you will see that the mountain top has been turned into the ultimate playground.

Most of the activities opened June 16, but there are a few that will not arrive until July.

The zip line runs have been attracting dozens of people each day since they opened and feature some of the best views of the mountains, lake and nearby valleys.

“We sell out everyday,” said Will Cain, lead operator at Heavenly’s “Blue Streak” zip line. “We have a limit of 80 people a day we take out on this one and we’re usually all booked up.”

The Blue Streak ride takes off from the very top of Heavenly and travels 3,300 feet, reaching speeds of up to 55 mph. With two parallel lines going down, this line is a great tandem ride. The ride down will last about one minute.

“We’ll usually keep the zip lines going until about September,” said Cain. “And we have some really cool new rides this year that are about to open. We’ve had crews out here finishing everything up.”

Martha Pesa and her husband Jack, of Boston, were out at Heavenly Wednesday, June 21, for some mountain adventuring. While Jack sat this one out, Martha braved the line at Blue Streak.

“This was really my first time and it was really awesome,” she said. “I want to try some of the other ones they have now. I’d definitely try it again.”

Some of the other zip lines that are currently operating are the “Hot Shots” and the “Red Tail” rides. At 1,000 feet in distance, Hot Shots is the shortest ride for adults and can reach speeds of 40 mph.

Red Tail is mostly for those who aren’t quite big enough to handle the bigger rides. The Red Tail ride is 100 feet in distance and is a good intro course into zip lining.

“One of the unique things about the Blue Streak zip line is that you have something to sit in,” said Rachelle Atherton, senior communications specialist at Heavenly. “A lot of other zip lines don’t have that so it’s a cool feature.”

Kevin Maul and his son Kyle, of El Dorado Hills, heard about the zip line rides so Kevin decided to take a shot at Blue Streak for his birthday.

“It’s a great weather day and it’s my birthday so I thought, why not, I’m going to try it,” said Kevin Maui. “It was the first time I’ve ever zip lined. It kind of feels like you’re just floating up there.”

Heavenly will be rolling out additional zip line rides this season, which can rival any zip line tour offered around the world. Opened on June 24, the “Silver Rush” tour is brand new this year.

This tour is for someone who is looking to make a day of zip lining. Silver Rush combines five zip lines and will take around three hours to complete. The tour will fly people through a canopy of trees and overlooks the Carson Valley high desert. The tour ends with a ride over East Peak and an ATV ride back to the gondola.

“We are excited to be in our second season of operation with Epic Discovery,” said Pete Sonntag, outgoing Tahoe region senior vice president and chief operating officer at Heavenly. “The Silver Rush Zip Line is going to make an incredible addition to our summer activities and we are looking forward to another great summer season.”

An even longer tour at four hours, the Skyway zip line tour opens July 1. The tour takes you on seven zip lines through a forest canopy.

The price for the Blue Streak and Hot Shots rides are $69 and $40, respectively. The Silver Rush and Skyway tours are both $199. There are also a few different pass options available that combine activities. For information on Epic Discovery events and activities, visit skiheavenly.com.

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