Published November/December 2011


Zip down a mountain outside Las Vegas

BYDan Davis
Las Vegas features plenty of performers doing death-defying stunts. Ever envy them as they plummet through the blue sky only to land safely, as if by miracle? That was me before I found myself standing on the top of a mountain, staring straight down a thin wire that might even spook a member of the Great Wallenda circus family.
Well, as they say, it’s all downhill from here. What’s there to do besides let ’er rip?  Suddenly, all my fear was gone as I picked up speed, feeling the wind in my face, and the adrenalin rush through my veins. Fear was no longer a factor.
This is why Bootleg Canyon Flightlines has become a stand-out attraction in the crowded Las Vegas area tourism scene since it opened a few years ago in Boulder City, near the Hoover Dam. So far, tens of thousands of visitors have made the half-hour drive from The Strip, to strap themselves in for two-and-a-half hours of thrills.
Our adventures began with a short orientation at the Flightlines office, before we were shuttled up Red Mountain for the first of four runs. Each run is a little different, ranging in length from 1,150 feet to a full half-mile, and offering speeds that top out somewhere between 50 and 60 miles an hour. Worry not, as your harness has brakes, the cable finishes uphill, and, if all else fails, pads and springs on the lower platform will save the day.
The Bootleg Canyon Flightlines — Bootleg Canyon got its name during the Prohibition when bootleggers operated in the area providing “drink” for the workers building Hoover Dam — is operated by a Canadian eco-tourism company. The company has similar operations in Belize, Ghana, and Brazil and makes an effort to minimize the environmental impact of its projects while providing additional income for the parks and cities where it operates.
The rides cost $149 per person. Be careful about scheduling your flight after a big night out in Las Vegas. Staring down that line, your tummy will be in knots even if you’re feeling your best when you show up at the bottom of the hill. 
DAN DAVIS is the host of AAA Presents Highroads with Dan Davis
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