Zipping into the summer: Zip line tour opens at Mount Ski Gull
Starting Sunday, thrill seekers will be able to fly up and down Mount Ski Gull in the summer without skis and without worrying about snow. Minnesota Zip Lines & Adventures opens its second zip line tour in Minnesota today at Mount Ski Gull ne...
Starting Sunday, thrill seekers will be able to fly up and down Mount Ski Gull in the summer without skis and without worrying about snow.
Minnesota Zip Lines & Adventures opens its second zip line tour in Minnesota today at Mount Ski Gull near Brainerd.
The tour includes a guided two-hour experience with seven zip lines, a 50-foot suspension bridge and an optional 50-foot free-fall experience. The company's first zip line tour, Kerfoot Canopy Tour, in Henderson, opened in June of 2013. The company is owned by Lee and Eva Kerfoot.
Lee Kerfoot is a fourth-generation outdoors enthusiast and Minnesota Zip Lines & Adventures continues a legacy started at the Gunflint Lodge near Grand Marais, he said. In the 1930s Kerfoot's grandmother Justine Kerfoot took over the lodge's management from her mother. She went to work building, expanding and modernizing the lodge.
"Growing up in northern Minnesota was a gift for me, and instilled in me the love of nature and outdoor experiences that drives me today," Kerfoot said in a release. "While my wife and I currently live in the Twin Cities, the pull of the great outdoors continues, thus the zip line adventures."
The supercell thunderstorm that tore through the Brainerd lakes area in July of 2015 played a large role in shaping what the Brainerd Zip Line Tour would look like. Originally designed to look and feel like the Kerfoot Canopy Tour in Henderson, designs had to change following the storm, Kerfoot said. The storm felled many of the trees that had been planned to be a part of the canopy experience.
"The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources did a fantastic job of harvesting during the cleanup to leave some of the trees we needed," Kerfoot said. "Key trees that were lost in the storm are being replaced by towers. Thanks to the DNR and our other partners, we've been able to create an exciting zip line adventure and maintain that incredible 15-mile view."
The optional 50-foot free-fall experience is really the best way to end the tour, Kerfoot said. It's exhilarating and thrilling to step off the edge of a platform into nothingness and descend freely, he said.
"The first step is the hardest," Kerfoot said.
Kerfoot's local partners for the Brainerd Zip Line Tour include Lakeshore Conservation Club, Mount Ski Gull and the DNR. The tour is taking reservations now for its first season in business. A formal grand opening is planned for later in May.
Brainerd Zip Line Tour is open 7 days a week from May to October. Riders must be 10 years old or older, weigh between 70-250 pounds, wear closed-toed shoes and have a reservation.
The tour costs $99 per person every day in May. In June through October, rates are $105 per person Sunday through Thursday and $115 per person on Friday and Saturday.
SPENSER BICKETT may be reached at 218-855-5859 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/spenserbickett .