Boyne Mountain is offering two-hour trapeze lessons over Labor Day weekend. In 20 minutes, their trapeze instructors will have you flying. Don’t believe it? Check out Travel Editor Lynda Twardowski’s experience:
I’m not a gymnast. Heights make me uneasy. And I’m notoriously uncoordinated. So why did I sign up for Boyne Mountain’s Trapeze Experience—an annual summer event where, in one two-hour class, normal folks are taught how to fly through the air with the greatest of ease?
When I find myself standing on the edge of a platform perched 25 feet in the air with a trapeze bar squeezed inside my sweating palms, I have no clue.
Around my waist is a safety harness, and below me is a net to catch me when I fall. But I won’t be falling until after I let go of the trapeze bar in my hands and do a backwards somersault the air. And that somersault supposed to happen after I after I kick my legs forward and back and forward while still clutching the bar and swinging back and forth above the net.
And that wild, ab-crunching flailing? That is to come after I’m hanging upside down on the bar from my knees—again, swinging above the net. And all of that is supposed to happen right after I figure out how to go from dangling by my hands on a swinging bar to dangling upside down from my knees.
Of course, absolutely none of this will happen until I can figure out how to accomplish the most important trick in the trapeze routine: finding the cajones to jump off the platform.
Colleen, one of three trapeze artists from the Club Med circuit who have come to Boyne to teach newbies like me how to fly, holds me by the back of my safety harness as I lean out into the great unknown. Then she yells the trapeze cue word for jump: “Hep!”
I stand there.
“Hep,” she shouts again.
My knees buckle a second, but I don’t otherwise budge. Colleen leans toward my ear and gently reminds me that “Hep” means jump. I know this, but it’s the doing part I can’t manage. She reassures me there’s nothing to worry about, that I should just hold on to the swinging bar, listen to co-instructor Dave’s commands from the ground, and do what he says. Gravity and momentum take care of the rest. I take a deep breath, and vow to do just that.
I leap. Away from the platform I sail, arcing above the net like a clock’s pendulum.
“Feet up,” Dave yells from below. I crunch up to bring up my knees and then my feet, a tangle of panicked appendages, under the bar.
Finally, I manage. I hook my knees over, then let go with my hands so I’m hanging upside down from my legs, still swinging.
Dave gives me the shout to grab the bar again, unhook my knees and get back to the original legs-a’danglin’ position. I do, then follow his call to swing my feet forward and back against what feels like momentum’s opposing G-force. My stomach muscles strain with the effort. Somehow I manage the swinging well enough because I hear the call to let go of the bar and somersault off backward
I know. I can hardly believe this nonsense myself.
But somehow, thanks to Dave’s timing and the swing’s momentum, somersaulting off is actually the easiest thing in the world. I grab my knees and tuck, and my body seems to fly effortlessly backward in a ball before I drop gently into the net. I have no idea how it looked, but I assure you, it felt Olympic caliber.
Giddy and screeching, I clamber out of the net, crawling like a drunk along the spongy, wavering surface. I can’t believe that ten minutes into a class normal people—not super jocks, not circus performers, not uber-flexible, lithe, former gymnasts—but normal people are able to fly through the air.
And I’m not the only one. There’s a pair of five and seven year old sisters here. And a group of three women who took the class the week before and have come back to learn more tricks. A couple employees from Boyne come out and give it a gander. Everyone is climbing, leaping, soaring. It’s an amazing sight to see, and soon a crowd has gathered to watch.
We spend the next hour taking turns working out the kinks in our tricks. For me, that’s hooking my feet over quickly and without tangling them, and waiting for the calls before I move on to the next action in my trick’s sequence. (At least three times, I get caught up in the thrill of swinging weightlessly, letting go of the bar and dangling upside down before Dave tells me to.)
Despite my poor listening skills, the instructors promote me to the next trick: from the swinging upside-down position, I will arch backward, reaching out and grabbing the wrists of Christiano, the third instructor (and a handsome Argentinean who could inspire most any woman’s reach out-and-grab technique) who swings from a second trapeze bar across from me. Thus linked, I will swing from his arms, before letting go and dropping to the net.
And believe it or not, I do it. I swing, arch my back, look backward, and there, upside down and reaching out for me, is Christiano. Effortlessly (on my part anyway—I suspect that Christiano, who coordinates the timing and executes the grabbing, holding and weight bearing, is putting forth significantly more effort than my dangling, flailing self) we connect and fly through the air.
Now, I am not a trapeze artist. But for that brief moment, I swear, I really felt like I could be.
Do you want to fly?
This Labor Day weekend—Friday, August 29 through Monday, September 1, Boyne will offer two Trapeze Experience workshops daily at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., plus a bonus 10 a.m. workshop on Labor Day (September 1). Cost is just $75 a person, and trust me, 100 percent worth every penny. 231-549-7946 to sign up.
Pair the class with an overnight stay and get a 50-minute spa treatment at Boyne Mountain’s posh underground palace, Solace Spa. (I recommend the sports massage the next day to get out any trapeze tenderness in those unused muscles) $267+ per person. Call 800.GO.BOYNE (462-6963) to reserve your hotel package today or go to boyne.com and use the booking code: TRAP.
Prefer to live vicariously?
Stay tuned to mynorth.com for a video of my brave Trapeze Experience exploits.