The biggest news in slacklining this year was the city of Boulder's rule change to cut practitioners of this noble sport some, well, slack.
Previous rules banned anything being attached to our fair city's precious trees, but a February change now allows exceptions for eight parks: Admiral Arleigh A. Burke Park, Beach Park, Bear Creek Park, Howard Heuston Park, Marin Park, Melody Park and North Boulder Park.
There are a few other things to know to stay on the good side of the law, to keep from busting your ass and to hook up with other slackers (though we recommend a shower first).
Read on, then get slackin', ya dirty hippie.
At the eight aforementioned city parks, slacklining is restricted to specific trees, because Boulder. Find a map at arcg.is/2uUt0QD, and more rules at bouldercolorado.gov/forestry/slackline. Lines must be no higher than 4 feet off the ground when a person is on it, and protective materials have to be placed between the line and the tree. Lines longer than 50 feet have to be flagged, and no tricks or stunts are allowed.
The slack scene isn't more relaxed on campus. Protection is still required (for the tree; feel free to slack bareback). Trees must be larger than 1 foot in diameter to attach a line to, and some memorial trees or those previously damaged by slackers are restricted.
All other city rules — on line height, length and tricks/stunts — are the same here, too. And one more, just for fun: No slacking by special event zones (like a Buffs football game) or within 20 feet of sidewalks, buildings, roads, streets, bikeways, water features, sports courts, bike racks, handrails, art objects, fences, light poles or thirsty freshmen. (Just kidding on that last one; tempt them all you want.)
Also, slack at your own risk: CU takes no liability in the event of an injury, death or slack-related sack-racking.
Much to the chagrin of "serious" outdoor enthusiasts, slacklining is now a pretty mainstream outdoor pursuit. As such, gear can be found at most outdoor retailers like REI. Some businesses — Boulder's Slackline Industries among them — put together slackline kits, with lines, tension systems and, sometimes, tree guards.
Lines come in 1- and 2-inch widths; 2 inches are recommended for beginners. Low-stretch webbing is the way to go if you're new to the sport; as in sex, the more rigid it is, the easier it will be to get started. You also might want to consider a topline, or helpline, that runs parallel to and above the slackline that you can grab with your hands to help you along.
The group is open to more than just Buffs. Roughly 10 percent of its 300(!) members are students. About the same number are active members.
Slackers at CU can often be spotted at Norlin Quad and count some slacking royalty among them. Eli Ellis and Justin Wagers are sponsored by Slackline Industries. Despite their pro status, the experienced are always happy to guide the uninitiated.
Shay Castle: twitter.com/shayshinecastle