The founders of Alaska Zipline Adventures (AZA), Rachel and Matt DeSpain, began their adventure business in 2005, when the zipline industry was just booming. After zipping through the rainforests of Costa Rica and working for several years helping construct other challenge courses, they were inspired to build their own! They came to Juneau to find land and felt the temperate forest of Southeast Alaska to be a beautiful setting for a canopy tour. It was their vision to share the trees from a unique and low-impact perspective, while encouraging people to get outdoors and live more adventurously. For a year they obtained all the necessary required permits and secured the perfect location at the locally owned Ski Area, Eaglecrest. It was the right fit since they need summertime business to supplement their income. Eaglecrest and AZA have a wonderful relationship and are committed to being part of the community.
The actual construction of the course and structures took two months and was built over snowpack during the winter to protect the surrounding wetlands. The lay out of the zipline cables navigate through the trees to follow the natural stream line so few trees were cut down. Most of the materials were pulled in on sleds by hand! Some tours use helicopters to drop supplies in remote areas, but this tour was built with good old fashioned blood, sweat, and tears! In 2006, AZA joyfully opened for business with their first tour consisting of a local family and friends on a cold, snowy spring day. Ever since then, Rachel and Matt have been zipping happy customers through the trees!
AZA has continued to thrive and grow. During 2010, with the help from their staff, Rachel and Matt, achieved their personal goal of having their tour be eco-certified through Sustainable Travel International. They have always tried operating an eco-friendly business and support sustainable tourism. For 2012, AZA was recognized as the #2 ranked shore excursion in Juneau out of 49 possible tour options on Tripadvisor. AZA is also dedicated to providing each of our guests with the highest level of safety, quality customer service and creating the memory of a lifetime!
Beyond operating tours during the summer, Rachel and Matt have been offering training and consulting services to other Zipline Tours through their business, Zipstart. On March 1st, 2011, Rachel and Matt welcomed their daughter, Zoelle Arbor DeSpain, to the zipline family. After 7 amazing years of successful operation, they have decided to entrust their company to Gin and Davy Anderson, a young couple that has been with AZA for the past 3 years and shares their passion. As the new owners, Gin and Davy are excited to carry the torch and continue to give travelers to Juneau an unforgettable experience! Rachel and Matt hope to focus on their consulting business and growing their family. They will forever be part of Alaska Zipline Adventures!
Gin and Davy met in Fairbanks while attending college at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. They both have Masters Degrees and came to Juneau in the summers to work for AZA. Gin has 7 years of previous tourism experience in Alaska and Davy has his level 2 certification through ACCT. They love hiking, camping, running, rock climbing, learning to fish, eating delicious food, and taking on new adventures together! Owning AZA is another exciting adventure for Gin and Davy and they can't wait to have you come zipping with them this summer!