Tyrolienne zipline

The Tyrolienne is the world’s highest zipline, and offers riders a once-in-a-lifetime view of the French Alps. Photo: Val Thorens

Taking a tour on a zipline is one of the most exciting ways to explore a new area, allowing riders the opportunity to indulge their inner thrill seeker while taking in unique views. And as more and more people have gotten on the zipline bandwagon, the number of zipline operators across the world has risen substantially.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, between the years of 2001 and 2012, the number of zipline operators in the United States jumped from 10 to over 200.

And while the increase in the number of global zipline outfits means you now have the opportunity to experience the places you visit in all new ways, that increase also correlates with an extreme rise in the amount of zipline related injuries that occur every year.

The reasons for that increase vary, but one thing is certain: the best way to make sure your zipline adventure doesn’t end with a broken collarbone is to find a reputable company offering legit tours — not some random dude who decided to hang a cable in the trees of his backyard.

So, with that said, here are our favorite (legitimate) spots to book a zipline adventure for 2016:

Icy Strait Point, Alaska

At 1,300 feet, Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, Alaska is the largest zipline in the Western Hemisphere.

Opened in 2007, the Icy Strait Point serves roughly 13,000 riders each year and offers visitors breathtaking views of the crystal blue waters and towering mountains that surround Chichagof Island.

The zipline itself is over 5,300 feet long and provides visitors with a 90 second ride during which visitors hit speeds of up to 60 mph.

TreeTop Crazy Rider, Australia

The biggest issue some people have with ziplines is that, for the most part, they are straight-line runs that rarely last more than two minutes, making the experience sometimes feel a tad rushed.

The TreeTop Crazy Rider is the solution to that problem.

Located just outside Sydney in the gorgeous Ourimbah State Forest, the TreeTop Crazy Rider offers a 1 kilometer zipline course modeled after a traditional rollercoaster — meaning it bobs and weaves throughout the trees of the Australian forest.

Claiming to be the world’s longest continuous zipline, the Crazy Rider offers visitors a five minute ride to take in the sights Down Under, meaning you’ll actually be able to enjoy your ride before it’s over.

Big Zipper, Wales

While the Snowdonia region of Wales might be well known to action sports enthusiasts around the world for playing home to the innovative, if troubled, Surf Snowdonia surf lagoon, it also is the setting for the world’s fastest zipline.

The Big Zipper, located at the Zip World zip line park, suspends riders 500 feet above a quarry lake in Wales and allows for magnificent views into Ireland at its highest point. But those views are just an added bonus for this course.

The real attraction is the fact that the mile-long ride can lay claims to being the fastest zipline in the world, with riders going down headfirst at speeds that can touch 120 mph.

Advertised as, “The Nearest Thing to Flying,” the Big Zipper will nourish your inner adrenaline junkie.

La Tyrolienne, French Alps

While other ziplines might be longer or faster, none will get you quite as close to the heavens as La Tyrolienne at the Val Thorens ski resort in the French Alps.

Starting at an elevation of 10,597 feet at the top of Orelle mountain, La Tyrolienne is the highest zipline in the world and is meant to mimic the feeling of being an eagle in flight. The zipline itself travels from the peak at Orelle to the 9,843 foot peak at Val Thorens, spanning nearly one mile.

During the roughly two minute travel time, passengers hit speeds of up to 65 mph and are suspended over 800 feet above snowcapped glaciers. While it might not be for the feint of heart, La Tyrolienne provides a view of the Majestic French Alps that can’t be mimicked anywhere else.

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