LAKE GEORGE The new Eagle Flyer zip line ride won’t soar this summer as originally planned.
Owner Ralph Macchio Sr. said he hopes to open it in the spring of 2016 instead and debut a renovated Wild West Ranch and Western Town with it, complete with a restaurant and a focus on the history that happened around the Bloody Pond area.
He said construction of the zip flyer was more extensive than anticipated. For instance, in August, crews had to use a helicopter to install the roughly 4,000- foot steel cables between the bottom and top of French Mountain.
“Who thought you would have to string the cable with a helicopter?” Macchio said. “It’s really been quite a trip.”
When the more than 3,450 foot-long zip line opens, it will be one of the country’s longest.
The Eagle Flyer will carry riders, hooked into a soft harness in a seated or head-first position, above the treetops as high as 125 feet off the ground for a nearly 60-second ride. Riders will be shuttled up the mountain via off-road vehicles and take off on four cables with the ability to race their friends. The nearly 1,000-foot vertical drop will hit speeds as high as 50 mph before a gentle landing on a platform yet to be built at the ranch.
“The reason I built this and think it is such a good thing was because I didn’t view it as much as a thrill ride as I did an Adirondack experience. You can go to 1,000 places in the Adirondacks and see beautiful views, but you can only go to one place and fly like a bird,” Macchio said.
He said the detail of work and the precision parts and mechanics that go into the ride, especially for safety reasons, were more complicated than he anticipated.
“It’s much more intricate ... and it’s going to make it a much more pleasurable and safer ride,” he said.
He said crews are still working on completing the ride, which should be done shortly. Some of the detailed elements took more time than usual, along with “taking concrete to the top of the mountain with cement trucks (for the platforms) — it’s not done every day,” he said.
“That’s part of the reason we came to a decision on this to wait until spring. I began to see the amount of excavation, the site work the town required, and everything else was not making the ranch prettier. I realized I have all this landscaping to do,” Macchio said.
“I just want the place to be right when people come in. I want them to come in and look at this experience not just for the zip line but for everything that ranch is,” he said.
Initially the project’s cost was estimated at $3 million, but Macchio said that has gone up significantly, and could cost as much as $1.5 million more than that when it’s finished.