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Conquering the VORDACH Zip Line and Canopy Tour- Sapphire, NC

Sapphire Valley is an amazing place to spend time with family and friends. Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sapphire Valley boasts a plethora of activities and adventures for all ages. One such adventure is the VORDACH Zip Line and Canopy Tour.

The VORDACH is a 14-element zip and canopy tour suspended atop the towering pines and hemlocks of the Ski Sapphire Valley resort. The designers' intent was to build the canopy tour with a balance of entertainment and education in mind. I would say on a "scary" scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the scariest), this one rates at about a 5. If you want something much more vicious, then head over to Highlands Ariel Park which is in Scaly Mountain, NC about 40 minutes from Once Upon a Stream. Check out their website for seasonal operation and times . And for the rest of you sane people, your adventure will begin with a short informational session at the Sapphire Valley Community Center. Plan to arrive about 20 minutes before your scheduled time because they will also collect a waiver from each participant which takes a bit of time to complete. In this ground session, you'll learn about ropes safety and various techniques that you'll need to master in order to conquer the VORDACH. In addition, you'll be fitted with your gear which includes a harness, helmet, and gloves. Once all this is complete, your guide will take you to the top of the ski slope where the fun begins!

After everyone arrives at the top of the hill, the guide will review the course rules so pay close attention! He will also instruct the group to practice various techniques for stopping yourself on a short (and low to the ground) practice zip line. This initial zip line traverses the ski slope to a ground landing near a rocky outcrop. This training run allows participants to get a feel for the equipment on a low-exposure practice run. The unique setting also allows those of you who just aren't cut out for zipping the opportunity to “opt out” at this point. If you pass this test, it's off to the real thing!

The next series of zip lines provide big valley views and the opportunity to be immersed in the old-growth canopy. The tour traverses back and forth through the Laurel filled valley on a series of zip lines and bridge elements – each beginning and terminating with large suspended decks that will comfortably accommodate client groups. The final higher-speed zip line emerges from the woods at the base of Frozen Falls. And as you will see in the video, my 9-year old daughter handled it like a champ!

Be sure to dress comfortably- those harnesses are really comfortable if you know what I mean- especially for the guys! You should also wear closed-toed shoes (no flip-flops Floridians!). Be sure to secure loose articles such as wallets and keys; you don't want them falling to the ground only to be lost forever. I managed to hang on to my iPhone so I could capture these great videos but take caution if you choose to do so.

In an effort to ensure the best experience possible, please also heed the following information:

1. Flight times vary from season to season (VORDACH is open year-round) but in the Fall they are 10AM and 1PM. Special Times may be arranged for Groups!

2. Each session can accommodate 12 guests (4 combine guest minimum or they cancel the flight).

3. Plan on a 3-hour VORDACH Experience in the trees from start to finish (total time includes ground training).

4. Rates: Public: $37.50 - Guests of Once Upon a Stream: $27.50. Group Rates are available for parties of six or more! For more informration, Call Group Sales at 828-743-2251.

5. Ask about the Green Course (Easy) for ages 8 and up (Lower stations - a great introduction), the Blue Course (the full VORDACH with all stations, and the Black Diamond which is the full VORDACH including a rappel down from a mid-course station! (The rappel station may not be available during all VORDACH flights.)

6. Weight Limit: 250lbs. 7. Age Limits: 8 up to 11 may tour the Green Course ONLY. 8. Ages 12 and up can tour the Blue Course or Black Course- the full VORDACH!

Overall, the VORDACH Zip Line and Canopy Tour is a fun-filled, completely safe, adventure that the whole family will love. We would recommend it to all of our guests year-round.

For additional information on Sapphire Valley, including the Vordach Zip-line call 828-743-7663 or visit the VORDACH Website.

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