According to Wikipedia, Slacklining is a balance sport that uses nylon webbing tensioned between two anchor points.  Slacklining is distinct from tightrope walking in that the line is not held rigidly taut (although it is still under some tension); it is instead dynamic, stretching and bouncing like a long and narrow trampoline. The line’s tension can be adjusted to suit the user and different types of dynamic webbing can be used to achieve a variety of feats.”

Enter Aaron Butcher:

Born in Windsor, Ontario, as Aaron puts it the very south of the south of Canada, he eventually gravitated to Western Canada and more specifically, Deep Cove in 2008 by following a girl he liked at the time.  While that did not last, he did, and found many other great things of which include becoming a Manager at Mount Seymour Resorts during the winter seasons.

In his spare time, Aaron is involved in his own personal exercise program, Slacklining. Aaron stated that he was first introduced to Slacklining while tree planting in Northern Ontario.  He noted that since they were stationed in the deep bush they had to be creative for entertainment in the evenings after their shift ended.  A friend he had at the time brought with him a section of 1” in diameter rock climbing rope/webbed belt. The webbing was fastened between two tree stumps and as Aaron commented, every day he tried to walk across the line as he saw others readily do.  As he continued, it was difficult trying to keep balance but the challenge was too great to quit. He had decided to challenge himself to be able to walk the line in full and by the end of the tree-planting season, he was able to walk end to end and back again about 5 times without losing his balance and falling off.

After the season was completed, he purchased his own slackline and continued on his quest to learn more.   As he proudly states, he is now able to do jumps and many other tricks at the Professional level.

 

 

When asked where he felt Slacklining as a professional would take him Aaron stated that Slacklining as a whole is not very prominent in Canada at present.  In Germany, for example, as well as England and the USA being in the top three countries involved, Slacklining teams and competitions have been created. He does eventually see it catching on more in Canada and wants to help promote it by forming clubs on the North Shore and Vancouver areas He also sees it (Slacklining) as a great form of exercise, or, as he continued, by adding music you can turn Slacklining into a dance on ropes.

Aaron noted that Slacklining is as he sees it, a street sport derived from Rock Climbing. Rock climbers would practice their skills in a Gym using the ropes as a way of learning to keep their balance. The difference is that with Slacklining you learn to do tricks on the line(s) such as backflips, front flips and 360’s for example.

As snowboarding has prospered in the ski industry, he foresees Slacklining doing the same in the rock and mountain climbing industry.

When asked if he (Aaron) sees himself as an unofficial Ambassador for Slacklining to Canada he was quick to reply that he did.

While searching for a Slacklining club in BC he discovered there is a group in Squamish whom he also considers Ambassadors to the sport. This group in particular have taken the sport  to the ultimate extreme of Slacklining where they actually strut their stuff, on really long ropes, over Canyons as opposed to say, a few feet off the ground over a sidewalk or dirt base. In the latter scenario, of course, the participants are tethered to the ropes by a safety line.

If you would like to learn more about Slacklining or just have some questions, Aaron has a website at www.slackline.homestead.com Be sure to take a moment and look at his site and maybe even arrange for a demo. You won’t be disappointed.

As for myself, I think I will keep my feet planted firmly on the ground although I do feel a road trip coming on with Aaron with camera in hand to watch the Squamish Slackliners and their Canyon exploits first hand.

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