David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer
David R. Jennings / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Despite what the name suggests, slacklining isn’t for slackers.
This sport, which requires pretty darn good balance at all times, involves tying a flexible line to two poles or trees a few feet off the ground.
From there, it’s up to you whether you walk on it, run on it, jump on it or fool around with other cool, slackline-y tricks. 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.
But whether you’ve never walked a line or are 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:
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:
Campus policy states that trees must be larger than 1 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.
You must take down your line at the end of every session — all lines are temporary, according to CU policy.
The line may not be higher than 4 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 near a Buffs home game.
University officials who deem equipment to be unsafe or harmful can remove it.
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.”
In addition, 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.”
City staff officials have said they’re mostly worried about the safety of someone passing by a slackline. What if you forget your line and some Boulder ultramarathoner runs smack into it?
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).
Good news, though: If you live on private property or have access to some private trees, you can slackline as much as you want.
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