With warmer weather gracing us after a deeply cold winter we are sure Boulder residents are ready to get outside. Let’s take a look at a relatively new sport Boulderites are practicing, and where you can do it in Boulder.

Slacklining is a sport invented at Camp 4 in Yosemite back in the 1980s. It is similar to tightrope walking but, instead of a rope, the person balances on a piece of flat, tubular webbing. In warmer weather it is a fairly common site at local Boulder parks and on the University campus. Usually a group of people will be gathered around a rope, which is suspended between two trees. You might see tricks like butt-bounces and chest-bounces. At all levels slacklining is impressive to watch, but it has experienced some legal restrictions within Boulder city limits.

Hitting a "Squirrel Backflip" in Boulder. Photo Credit: Forresbj

“Sketchy Andy” Lewis nailing a slackline Backflip in Boulder. Photo Credit: Forresbj

On CU campus slacklining is permitted, but there are rules… Quite a few rules. You may only slackline from sunrise to sunset, no night sessions. Any trees used to rig a slackline must be 1 foot in diameter or larger. You cannot use memorial trees, or any tress which have been restricted for use. Trees become restricted for slackline use when the bark is damaged, so you must provide a barrier between the slackline and the tree. You may use fabric, cardboard, or just something to keep that tree unharmed. You must have a clear landing area underneath the entire length of the line. If anybody gets hurt on your slackline, all responsibility falls on you. So be careful slackers. You also cannot do tricks on campus, only walking. The line must not exceed 4 feet high in the center, and cannot be over 50 feet long. And you must set up at least 20 feet from sidewalks, buildings, and basically all non-trees.

A slack liner in Russia. Image Credit: Алексей Желудков

A slack liner in Russia. Image Credit: Алексей Желудков

In the city as a whole, no slackline-specific restrictions exist, but there are ordinances which make it impermissible. Namely, Ordinance 6-6-6 C: “no person shall attach to or install on any tree or plant growing within or upon any City-owned or controlled property, including public rights-of-way, without first having obtained approval from the city manager, any metal material, sign, cable, wire, nail, swing, or other material foreign to the natural structure of the tree”. This ordinance may only be circumvented by tree care professionals.

If you own property, or get permission on a private bit of property to slackline, you may do so to your heart’s content. Boulder is not intentionally prohibiting the practice of this up-and-coming sport. The city just wants to prevent people from bashing their heads, or getting “clotheslined” in the park.

For those who want to avoid any possibility of law-breaking, there is a place in Boulder where you can slackfline any time without risk. The Adventure Lodge in Boulder has a permanent setup for slacklining. They’ve sunk poles into the ground to get around the pesky restrictions on attaching slackline to trees.

Are you a slackliner? Did you learn from this article? Give us a like or comment on Facebook, we appreciate it! Have a great day and thanks for slacking with us.