I always thought it would be cool to be an Olympic ski jumper, but as I step up to the zip-line ride next to Park City, Utah's 120-meter nordic jump, I realize that soaring above a mountain may be scarier than it looks. Maybe I should have tried the bunny zip first.
Too late. The attendant shouts "Clear!", the gate clangs open, and I hurtle into space, dropping 435 vertical feet at 55 mph along a cable suspended 100 feet above the ground. The ride parallels the drop of the K-120 jump, and as I fall, everything blurs for those brief seconds. A high whine emanates from the rollers suspending my harness.
Like me, you may never be an Olympic jumper, but the Xtreme Zip ride opening this summer at Utah Olympic Park offers the safest way to simulate nordic flight. A four-cable zip-line ride, it's the world's steepest. The less adrenaline-hungry can try the shorter Ultra Zip, next to the park's winter freestyle aerial hill ― it travels at "only" 35 mph.
Info: Zip-line rides ($22 Xtreme, $13 Ultra, including admission to the park and Alf Engen Ski Museum) are offered Sat-Sun May 28-Jun 18, then daily through Aug 21 at Utah Olympic Park (3000 Bear Hollow Dr., Park City, UT; www.olyparks.com or 435/658-4200).