Business is literally up in the air for Jeremy Wilson and Scott McQueen, two friends who started AdrenaLINE adventure tours in Sooke in June 2007. After a successful 2008 season, the company showed a 40 per cent increase in sales for 2009.
“It’s worked out great. It’s been awesome,” says McQueen, who has some experience in adventure tourism and had worked for BC Ferries.
Wilson, whose business background is the food and beverage sector, is also proud of the $9,000 they generated for Tour de Rock last fall as TV broadcaster Hudson Mack’s main fundraiser.
They had talked about business ideas for several years before settling on the zipline idea. On foot, they scouted the site behind the 17 Mile Pub on Sooke Road. “Our walk turned out to be bushwhacking,” says McQueen.
The area had been logged more than once, most recently about 40 to 50 years ago, but there are still numerous Douglas fir, maple, cedar, and arbutus trees studding the steep property, making for an exciting ride.
“We tried to do as much locally as we could,” says McQueen. An arborist helped design the course and advised on rigging the cables, and six metal fabricators worked on the towers.
“Our idea for this, in part, was a ‘light hand on the land,’” says McQueen. A helicopter lifted three prefabricated metal towers into place, and they walked lumber up the slopes a board at a time. Rigging cables was mostly with “spurless” climbing gear.
Their zipline attraction features a fully guided, two-hour aerial cruise through the trees. With safety harnesses attached to a pulley and overhead cables, visitors of all age groups descend along seven separate ziplines and two suspension bridges.
Wilson points out that you don’t need experience to try this. “It’s not death-defying,” adds McQueen. “You’re zipping through the bush on a cable attached to a couple of trees. It’s like getting into a plane. The actual risk is very low.”
Thirty-five people work at AdrenaLINE in the summer peak. It’s basically a seven-month season, opening in mid-February; daily operation starts in May. High winds are the only reason they’ve cancelled trips. Club Zip has 500 members. www.adenalinezip.com
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