Ready, set, zipline: Five steps to humility on a Swedish zipline.
“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.”
They say the ability to laugh at yourself is crucial to being happy in life—heck, one research study even claims it’s good for your health.
I’m the first to admit I don’t always find this easy–taking myself seriously often comes far more naturally than shrugging my shoulders with a laugh and an oh well. Lately, though, I feel I’ve started to improve–finding the humility to admit I won’t always have it together or nail a new activity the first time I try it.
I couldn’t have done so soon enough, for here on the snowy slopes of Åre, Sweden, I’ve found humility is only five steps away…
1. Take one day of miserable weather…
Due to unseasonably warm weather that’s somehow combined with a cold steady rain, our plans to go snowmobiling under the stars are suddenly less than stellar. I try to forget that this was what I was most looking forward to and embrace our alternative: ziplining with Camp Åre.
Thankfully, this is the one activity at the resort available all year round; no matter the temperature, no matter the weather.
2. Add two enthusiastic Swedish guides…
Blond-haired Mattias and Fredrik arrive at our hotel, embodying everything great guides should be: professional yet funny, capable yet adventurous.
They know we’re meant to be snowmobiling, they know this was arranged at the last minute, but still they’re determined to show us a good time. Not to mention their sense of humor—at the start of our first run, Fredrik explains how to break with the simile of all similes:
“I want you to curl like a Swedish meatball.”
3. To help you through three ziplines…
Our first run is as easy as they come: a quick jump off the treehouse platform and it’s smooth sailing to the other end. On the second platform, Mattias makes sure we’ve all made it before uppingthe ante: “This time you fall like a timber.”
By which he means, turn around so that your back is to the zipline, place your heels off the edge of the platform and your hands behind you, and then fall back like a newly felled tree. The split-second of freefall is enough to make your heart stop.
4. All leading up to an epic fourth run…
For our third run, Fredrik has us jump off the platform Superman-style, one fist extended in the air before us. Feeling proud of my Superman, I approach the fourth and final run pretty confidently—that is until I hear our last challenge: sit with our backs to the line, stretch one leg up and around the safety cord, and then do a kind backwards somersault off the platform—the goal being to begin the run upside down, legs up, arms out. To say it’s easier said than done is the understatement of the century.
5. …and five new friends to laugh at yourself with.
I volunteer to go first—what could go wrong now, right? I sit down, throw my leg up, and push back off the platform. Sadly, nothing feels wrong with my technique until I right myself and reach the end. “I’ve never seen anyone do it…quite like that,” Fredrick says when I find my footing. I don’t have time to ask, “Whatever do you mean?” before the rest of the group shows me the photographic evidence:
And that’s where humility comes in—being able to laugh at yourself as your less-than-graceful escapade is recounted throughout the weekend, even referred to as “Bridget Jones on a zipline.” Humility and all, though, you’re still allowed to make one promise to yourself—to never ever attempt another zipline upside down.
But then again–if it earns me a comparison to Bridget Jones, that’s a mishap I can live with…
How to have your own zipline adventures:
- To learn more about Camp Åre and their many adventures, give them a call on (+46) 647 525 25 or send an email to [email protected]
- Keep in mind the lower runs have an age minimum of 8 years old, while the upper runs start at 15 years.
- In addition to ziplining, they offer a range of other activities, including dogsledding, heliskiing, paragliding, icekarting…need I go on?
Disclosure: I’m here at Åre as a guest of VisitSweden, SkiStar and Neilson Holidays. While I’m grateful for their tremendous hospitality, rest assured all thoughts on humbling travel experiences are mine.