Competitive slackliner Justin Wagers practices routines at Bear Creek Park, in Boulder.
Competitive slackliner Justin Wagers practices routines at Bear Creek Park, in Boulder. (Cliff Grassmick / Colorado Daily)

The full rules

Boulder city rules that address slacklining:

Protection of Trees and Plants: colocode.com/boulder2/chapter6-6.htm

Streets and sidewalks: colocode.com/boulder2/chapter8-2.htm

CU slacklining rules:

colorado.edu/policies/CUUF

Slacklining is an increasingly popular sport, and it seems to be extra popular in Boulder.

This balancing act — which involves tying a flexible line to two poles or trees a few feet off the ground and then walking it or doing tricks on it — isn't for slackers. Some people do yoga on their flexy webbing. Slacklining is now part of the summer GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, where athletes butt-bounce, chest-bounce, flip and spin, all while balancing on a 2-inch thick line. Some bold slackliners string up highlines far off the ground, and between the headspace of so much space below one's feet and the stronger winds whipping down through the canyons, highliners say it makes for a bigger balancing challenge.

But whether you've never walked a line or a butt-bouncing champ, you'll need to know the rules for setting up lines, both on campus and in the city. So here they are:


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On Campus

Slacklining is permitted on campus, but there are some rules and regulations that the university has set out for the sport. You can only slackline between sunrise and sunset, and you must assume all responsibility if you or anyone else gets injured (or dies, gulp) while using your slackline on campus.

If that's a risk you're willing to take, here are a few other things to consider:

Trees

Campus policy states that trees must be larger than one foot in diameter, and that some type of protective fabric must be placed between the slackline and the trees to protect the bark. Trees that have been damaged by slacklining might be restricted for use in the future.

Make sure there's a clear and flat landing surface below the entire length of the line. You cannot use memorial trees or trees that are otherwise already prohibited for slacklining.

Your line

You must tear down your line at the end of every session — all lines are temporary, according to CU policy.

The line may not be higher than four feet in the center, and it cannot exceed 50 feet in length. The center of the line may not be within 20 feet of sidewalks, buildings, roads, streets, bikeways, water features, sport courts, bike racks, handrails, art objects, fences or light poles.

Also, you cannot set up a line within a special event zone. So, yeah, don't try this at graduation.

University officials who deem equipment to be unsafe or harmful can remove it.

You

Slackliners are not allowed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while participating, and no stunts or tricks are allowed — just walking. So if you're looking to go pro in slacking, think again about practicing on campus.

A spotter is "strongly recommended" according to campus policy.

In the city

There's nothing specific about slacklining in Boulder city code, but two ordinances make it illegal on public property.

Ordinance 6-6-6 c states that "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, except materials used for standard tree care or maintenance, such as bracing and cabling, installed by tree professionals."

Tyler Shalvarjian slacklines at Williams Village last November. It’s OK to set up slacklines on campus if you follow the rules. (Yeah, we know you
Tyler Shalvarjian slacklines at Williams Village last November. It's OK to set up slacklines on campus if you follow the rules. (Yeah, we know you think rules are made to be broken, but seriously, just follow the rules on this one.) (Cliff Grassmick / Colorado Daily)

If that's not enough, ordinance 8-2-16 states that "no person shall attach any object to any city property or locate any object on city property in such a manner as to damage the city property, obstruct public right of way or interfere with the function of the city property."

"We don't outlaw slacklining," said city risk management specialist Helen Cowan. "We certainly appreciate the sport. It's a well-liked sport and an up-and-coming sport. The main reason (for the ordinances) is we don't want people who are not anticipating that there's going to be a slackline running across a park getting injured."

Those ordinances also prohibit hammocks or rope swings, which are handy for jumping across the Boulder Creek (don't say we didn't warn you).

Cowan said the city's Open Space and Mountain Parks division has been brainstorming ways to make Boulder more slackline friendly, like creating a designated slacklining area somewhere around town.

Good news though, if you live on private property or have access to some private trees: you can slackline as much as you want, Cowan said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Sarah Kuta at 303-473-1106 or kutas@dailycamera.com