Slackline Party – 300 foot slackline!

25 08 2010

The Party.

This last weekend will definitely be one to remember. Our destination was the Black Forest in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Our goal was to set up slacklines, with one of them to be over three hundred feet long. Anthony, Josh, Mama T and Julliebeth departed in two vehicles from Denver. Upon arriving in the Black Forest, we drove through what seemed to be an endless maze of dirt roads. Along with the possibility of making a wrong turn and ending up at a dead end, we were two vehicles trying not to lose one another. After cresting a final hill, we finally arrived at The Ranch aka The Slackline Ranch.   As we pulled in the long driveway a typical scene of the eldest son pulling one of his brothers on the scooter with the four wheeler was in view. On our last visit to the Slackline Ranch a hypothetical idea of a 300+ foot slackline setup was raised. This hypothetical line would stretch over the field and across the end of the driveway. Jon the gentleman who owns the Slackline Ranch along with his lovely wife Meg, responded back, “that sounds like a great idea how would we set it up”? Shocked that they said they were interested in the idea, I replied, well, it would be nice to use the four wheeler and a tractor to rig a line as long as 300+ feet. The four wheeler to pull the line tight on a 12:1 ratio, and an old vintage looking tractor to be used as an anchor to mind the pulleys.

Mama T and Julliebeth on safety duty.

So as we arrived at the Slackline Ranch that is exactly what we did.
Unloading the gear from the car took no time at all and with the help of two of the three boys, rigging up was going smoothly.
With everyone’s help, we were ready to pull this longline tight. This line despite the length, was the easiest line to pull tight that I have ever been a part of. Instead of 8 people to pull, it only took 1 four wheeler to do the job.

As the line was being pulled to its desired tension, the tension in the air was rising as well. One must take great care and have a lot of respect when rigging a line of this length. All webbing has limits, whether the line has too much friction or has been used too many times, everything has a breaking point. I have been around lines that broke and there is never any warning, so even when you know what you are doing you must be careful.
After taking 25 minutes to pull the line tight, it was ready to be walked. Anthony was nominated to go first. With a quick sigh and a brief thought Anthony grabbed the line and was quickly in the seated position above. With one hand to assist his legs into standing, Anthony began his arduous walk.
To those of you who have tried slacklining know what it feels like and how much focus one has to have in order to walk. A three hundred footer is completely intensified and takes very finite movement along with great focus in order to walk. Not to mention being 6 or so feet of of the ground, which does not make for a very safe dismount.
With every step, which you could see was taken very carefully, hands extended out releasing the lines energy ever so gracefully, Anthony, getting closer towards the center of the line was beginning to show signs of movement that was getting out of control. All of a sudden the line began to sway back and forth more than normal. The small crowd took a deep breath in hopes that he would regain his balance……… and just like that, he was off the line.
Landing safely on the ground, Anthony looked at me and said the line is all yours.
As I was mounting the line from underneath, I was thinking that though I had walked a 310 ft line the year before, this was still going to be no easy task.

Anthony completing the traverse on his last attempt.

As much as I wanted to run across to the other side and be done with it, logically I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Every foot that is placed on the line must be done carefully. After passing the middle and then the 2/3rd’s mark I figured the line would get easier since I was nearing the end, but that was not the case. As I got to the end of the line I could feel the weight of the pulley trying to throw off my balance from behind. In my opinion the last 25 ft were the most nerve racking, because you had to cross over the fence that was 4 feet below as well as the road leading into the driveway. Getting closer to the end, I realized that there was a full twist in the line.Then finally as I made it to the other side I let out a sigh of relief while listening to the faint cheer of people who were now more than a football field length away.
We also set up two other lines, one 15 ft long set low to the ground and another was about 45ft long 3 ft of the ground. The boys were tearing it up, walking back a

Great music!

nd forth like it was no problem. Wyatt the middle brother, even landed some 180’s on the line. With a few more attempts made by Anthony on the longline, it was time to eat. Everyone who came brought their own dish of some sort. We all gathered around the table and dug in. Great conversation, laughter and storytelling was on the menu. Of course my favorite part of any meal is dessert-I thoroughly enjoyed the cupcakes which Juliebeth made from scratch. Great cupcakes! Filling ourselves full of good food, we slowly made our way back to the slackline for some more fun.
Anthony made it known that he was on his last and final attempt after trying it 8 times. Jon, giving Anthony some words of encouragement before he started, must of sparked something from within Anthony. Anthony began to cruise the line passing the halfway mark, the 2/3rd’s mark and finally getting to the last 25 ft of the line. Several of us went down to watch closer and to cheer Anthony on while he was making his last few steps on the line. Having to pull it together, Anthony stuck it out and made it to the other side. Wah hoo! With everyone cheering and a big grin on his face that not even soap could wash off, glory was his, he finally had done it! Having tried it 8 times only to complete the walk on his last attempt is a great example of perseverance. The MVP award of the week goes to Anthony, but the MIP goes to Wyatt for the constant long walks and combo turns on the trickline. As the sun was getting closer to the horizon, we figured it was time to take down the longline, and I would say the take down was easier than the set up. With the gear organized and packed in the car, there was one thing left to do and that was to listen to the family band play some great bluegrass music. Talk about talent! They were awesome! What made this day so amazing was not just the longline being walked, but the people that came together to set up this line safely. Awesome day, great food, amazing friends and no injuries made for an experience that will never be forgotten. I can’t wait for the next adventure to the Slackline Ranch.

Written by Josh Beaudoin


Brining Balance to the Folks Festival

21 08 2010

The Colorado Mountain Club Volunteers

Slackining with the kids

Another great weekend slacklining with the youth. With the recent collaboration of Slackline Visions and the Colorado Mountain Club, festivals are now on the list. The Colorado Mountain Club had a booth at the Folks Festival and invited Slackline Visions to come and teach balance and movement to the kids at the festival. The list of wonderful volunteers were Stacy, Rachael, Juliebeth, Tamara, Anthony and Josh.
The other activities included a nature walk, a lightning safety course, and a creek critters lesson down by the stream, a class I wanted to go to!
The experience of having slacklined at the Rocky Grass Festival two weeks prior gave a heads up on how to handle things, but as usual slacklining captured the minds of the kids as well as adults. Throughout the weekend several hundred kids signed up and got to test their balance on the slackline. The kids did great, as the day progressed they all began to perfect their skills. Having to spot so many kids left us with no choice but to switch off back and forth amongst ourselves to get breaks. After each day had come to an end, there was great live music that followed. The weekend also brought a crazy camping style that most of us were  unaccustomed to. The camping  was very unique in that every visible piece of grass was covered by a tent . The tents were literally inches from one another. Throughout the three days that we were there at the Folks Festival the weather was beautiful. A huge thank you goes out to everyone at the Colorado Mountain Club and all the staff at the Folks Festival for the opportunity and support

Plan B

19 08 2010

Clear Creek Line May 23 – Saturday
With reports of 80 degree weather approaching I quickly made plans to set a line over water, and my first thought was by tunnel one in Clear Creek Canyon. So on Saturday morning Adam, Regina, Anthony and JC met at the house, gathered all of the gear and left. After a short drive, we parked, grabbed the gear and were down at the area to set up the line. Adam insisted that he swim across the water which had not completely warmed up yet, and with no argument from the rest of the group, Adam was in the water. Once on the other side, Adam proceeded to rig up his side of things with the bag of supplies that had been thrown across.
After 15 minutes had gone by, Adam and I became more suspicious of the ever increasing winds that kept barreling down on us. While Adam and I were pulling the line hand tight, holding on was near impossible. The wind came in intervals, every two minutes of calm would bring on 5 minutes of what felt like gale force winds. As we both were observing the wind patterns, we realized that it would be a bad decision to set up and walk, because the opportunity for injury was written all over it.

80’s Slackline hula hoop party

10 08 2010

A party to remember. On Monday at 5:00pm I found myself digging deep into the closet for some 80’s gear, eventually going to Goodwill and picking up a pair of 80’s shorts to complete the outfit. Off to the party around 6:00pm to set up slacklines and meet the rest of the crew at the park.  Alina brought 15 or so different size hula hoops to the party, and with her amazing skills with the hula hoop, people found themselves mesmerized by her talent and display of tricks. With hula hoops, two slacklines and our 80’s get-up we were definitely having a great time. The party lasted a good three hours, ending with a small light show-neon glow sticks and cords on shoes, hula hoops and underneath the slackline. It was a great night with about 25 in attendance through different parts of the night. I will be definitely looking forward to doing this again somtime soon!

Here is a link to the you tube video on the 80’s party –