A pair of brothers are hoping people will zip across canyons with only a harness to keep them from falling if it’s for a good cause.
Jay and Todd Manton, co-owners of Kokanee Mountain Zipline, are holding a fundraiser for the Balfour Harrop Fire Department and Nelson Search and Rescue on Monday, with 50 per cent off of 100 tickets and 100 per cent of sales going to the two organizations.
It’s a gesture the pair think will show a little community gratitude to two valued groups.
“Without these volunteer services in the area, a lot of things that people like to do in the area, the mountain biking, the hiking, wouldn’t be that possible,” said Jay. “People wouldn’t feel comfortable that if you get in trouble someone would get you out. So that’s why we believe in this.
“It’s such a big thing for us and the more we can support them the more we can ensure the safety of people in the backcountry.”
Kokanee Mountain Zipline has been in business since last July. Todd, who helped construct ziplines in New Zealand and the Okanagan, found a good site for his own zipline business just north of Kokanee Creek Provincial Park three years ago.
The idea for a fundraiser came after the Mantons reached out to the fire department and search and rescue for constructive criticism on their site.
“We think it’s a really good fit for the first year anyways and then hopefully it’s a success and in future years we can continue to expand the organizations we donate to,” said Jay.
They’re also hoping, of course, the event exposes a new audience to the odd exhilaration that comes with flying over drops of up to 300 feet (100 m) at 100 km/h. Jay said the idea only seems insane until someone tries it.
“Either they are scared of heights or they are scared of ziplining. Both are rational fears,” said Jay. “Even those [people] who are scared beyond belief either come to the bottom and say, ‘That was amazing, I’m so glad I did it, I’m never going to do it again’ or ‘That was amazing, I want to go back up.'”
“Most people, once they get up there, they realize they can overcome the fear of the zipline or the height, and they realize the views are breathtaking.”