Wanted: Site for slackline park
Boulder-based Canaima Outdoors Inc., doing business as Gibbon Slacklines Inc., has experienced a meteoric increase in sales and interest from across the United States during the past eight months, after athlete Andy Lewis did his moves on the tightrope-looking product during Madonna’s halftime show at the 2012 Super Bowl. The company has received 800 million media impressions since then, said Torres, vice president for sales and marketing at the company.
One seldom sees a slackline set up in Boulder, where the sport first started to take off, Torres said. Why not? A Boulder city ordinance bans the lines (or anything else for that matter, from hammocks to horse tie-ups) from being affixed to trees in public places.
Athletes who practice the sport first learn how to walk on the line, which is similar to a gymnastics balance beam but about half the width and flexible. Athletes do flips and other tricks on the lines.
In general, police officers and park rangers “try to educate people about the ordinance rather than issuing tickets for this violation,” said Sarah Huntley, a spokeswoman for the city. There is no record of any tickets being issued under this code citation in the past year, Huntley said.
A meeting between Torres and the city to discuss slacklining — including the possible new slackline park — was “productive and a good sharing of information,” said Liz Hanson, economic vitality coordinator for the city of Boulder.
Building a slackline park to practice the sport in Boulder could be a win-win for both the city and the company, Torres said.
Valmont Park – South might be a good place to consider Torres’ offer of a new slackline park, since the city expects to focus on new plans for the park in six months or so, said Jennifer Bray, a Boulder parks and recreation spokeswoman.
“We are absolutely open to talking with Gibbon Slacklines about moving this forward, (but) we want to make sure everyone’s concerns are taken care of first,” Bray said.
Valmont Park – South might be perfect venue the slackline park donation as well as a kick-off event, Torres said.
“We would love to hold an event in 2013 in our own backyard,” Torres said.
Torres estimates the company would donate as much as $15,000 in equipment and work to build the park. Gibbon was paid to build a similar park at Adventure Ridge, a Vail Resorts property on top of the mountain in Vail. Workers also are in the process of building a slackline park at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, California, Torres said.
“Boulder is known as a leader in the outdoor sports industry. (The city) should take that into consideration when considering these types of things,” Torres said. “The city made bike trails and paths. Slacklining is like that.”
While the company is privately held and does not release revenue numbers, it has expanded probably 400 percent to 500 percent since the Super Bowl, Torres said. The company started with 10 employees and now has 45, Torres said.
Gibbon sells items online to protect slacklines and trees, Torres said. The company website includes information about how to properly install the lines and where to install them.
“We love being in Boulder. We have an incredible slackline community,” Torres said. “We’re talking about this being an Olympic sport someday (so) we hope Boulder will embrace it.”
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