Since we’re closed in January and February, we thought it would be fun to write a series of blog posts letting you know what we’re up to. Every year we close for two months in order to zip through a huge checklist of items that we have in order to make the upcoming year the best possible. Last month we talked to Brooke who shared some information about the Wolfe Creek Station store with us; in January we successfully rearranged Wolfe Creek Station and flew to Atlanta to a wholesale market in order to purchase a wide variety of treasures that we hope everyone in your family will love when you peruse the gift shop next time you’re here. Also in January, we started routine maintenance work on the zipline course, prepared to hire a fun new crew of guides, and started getting ready for our favorite part of working here: when all of you come back to visit us! Starting March 1, we’ll be open and ready for all of you to come check out our new merchandise, meet our new guides, and soar into spring with us!
If you’re friends with us on Facebook, you might have seen some pictures of highly trained individuals performing routine maintenance work on our zipline course. Although it’s routine maintenance work for them, we know that some of you might have questions about how we keep our zipline course at the highest class of safety. When it comes safety and maintaining our zipline course, we go above and beyond requirements to ensure that our zipline course is the safest it can be. While other zipline courses replace their cables every few years, we take the extra step and have our ziplines replaced every year by a certified, third-party company. And, February isn’t the only month that we’re concerned about safety; we complete semi-annual checks of the ziplines and all of our guides are extensively trained in keeping guests safe so that every single day we’re sure that everyone on our tours has a blast.
Recently, we completed some routine maintenance on our powerfan, which is a unique piece of equipment at our facility that allows us to offer the 100 foot freefall from our tallest tower, Everest. We lowered the powerfan to have it inspected while the certified crew is on site. To help with the process were some of our most involved employees, Julie and Dustin, who have both recently been promoted to General Managers because of how knowledgeable and dedicated they are about Wolfe Creek Preserve.
There’s no better person to explain the safety and management of our zipline course than Julie Krisch (she’s in the picture below shown attaching some new fire extinguishers to each tower). Julie began working at Wolfe Creek Preserve as a zipline guide during our first season and was recently promoted to co-General Manager. She’s been hard at work during the downtime, with her co-General Manager Dustin Murtaugh, preparing for the next season. We talked to Julie about what her job looks like during the off season so that all of you can feel reassured that we take safety, guide selection, and providing the best zipline experience seriously!
What is the basic process of safety checks that occurs in February? In the downtime we bring in a third party, A.C.C.T certified company to do a full inspection of our zipline course and perform any maintenance that is needed. In addition to routine maintenance we replace every zipline on property. We are the only zipline course I am aware of that changes replaces all their ziplines every year. In addition to changing out the ziplines this group puts a wrench to every nut and bolt that makes up our zipline course and thoroughly inspect every piece of gear worn by our guests and guides.
I’ve heard that Wolfe Creek Preserve hires an outside company to come check the course in February. Who comes out to the course? Part of offering a world class experience is ensuring we are working with companies who are the best in the business. From conception we have hired the best consulting firms to advise us on the concept and layout of our zipline course. We then found the top builders in the world and brought them into construct a zipline course that exceeds all industry standards and we continue to work with the best in the world to maintain our zipline course and to train our staff. The third- party companies we choose to work with are the best out there.
What aspects of Branson Zipline safety procedures make this zipline different than others? There are many ways Branson Zipline is unique when it comes to safety procedures and practices. Some examples include bringing in a third-party A.C.C.T certified company to perform our inspections and maintenance, in addition to the daily and montly inspections our trained team performs. We also bringing in third-party A.C.C.T. certified trainers to certify each of our guides and train our maintenance team. Most zipline companies handle all these duties in house but we choose to invest the extra time and expense to ensure we are working with the best in the industry and providing a world-class experience.
What kind of safety checks do you do on a regular basis? We do several different kinds of safety checks throughout the year. Each morning we zip the course and do a daily opening inspection of every zipline and tower. We have a team who have completed an additional course maintenance certification who perform monthly inspections. And, as mentioned previously, semi-annually we bring in the third-party A.C.C.T certified company to inspect the entire zipline course and all gear and equipment worn by guests and guides.
Are you hiring new guides soon? If so, how does that process work? Between now and the end of June our staff will grow from about 10 guides to around 50. We will be looking for guides who have outgoing personalities and enjoy working outside and with people. This is an awesome job for those who love telling stories and meeting new people while enjoying being outside. Anyone 18 years or older who is interested in joining our team can complete a job application at http://www.bransonzipline.com/careers.cfm
Could you describe the zipline guide training program briefly? How can customers be sure that guides are trustworthy? Each guide candidate must complete and pass a 40 hour, site specific training program with a third party A.C.C.T certified trainer. This training includes the technical aspects of conducting a zipline tour at Branson Zipline – sending guests, receiving guest, performing retrievals, etc. Guides candidates must complete and pass both written and practical skill tests. Upon passing the A.C.C.T certification each guide candidate shadows another guide for some time to become fully comfortable with all the aspects of ensuring each guest has an awesome and safe time during their zipline tour.
What special tasks have you been accomplishing during the time that Wolfe Creek Preserve has been closed (this two month period)? Basically everything that we are doing in these two months is to prepare for our upcoming season. We have been cleaning everything, doing inventory of both the gift shop and of gear, preparing for the inspection and maintenance, ordering supplies and hopefully hiring soon!
Thanks, Julie for filling us in about the extensive measures taken at Wolfe Creek Preserve to ensure the safety of guests! Here at Wolfe Creek Preserve, we are completely open about the procedures we fulfill to keep our zipline course the safest that it can possibly be, so if you have any questions about it, feel free to ask! We want you and your loved ones to feel completely comfortable as you zip through the treetops with us.
And speaking of ziplining, it’s time to start making reservations! Do you have a birthday coming up in March or April? Have you thought about spring break or senior class trip plans? How about a corporate outing to add some adventure to life at the office? No matter what type of group you’re bringing or when, it’s best to get in contact with our sales manager Wes as soon as possible. He loves working with groups to plan events that involve ziplining, hiking, food, and a great place to kick back and enjoy the beautiful Ozark Mountains. If you’re interested in planning an event, you can contact Wes at (800) 717-0998.
We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about our safety procedures and guide hiring process. We’re committed to excellence and you can be assured that we’ll be checking every nut and bolt before you and your family come out to zip this spring!
You can make reservations for March 2013 (and beyond) by visiting the “Tours” section of our website or by calling (800) 712-4654. We look forward to your visit!