What Do You Think About Mountain Coasters?

Edited: October 21, 2020, 6:18 PM

This press announcement just hit my email box, which got me wondering — what do you think about mountain coasters?

I'm talking about those alpine slide coasters that descend the slopes of a mountain. This one is the Cliffside Coaster in Lake Placid, New York, which runs alongside the course of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympic Bobsled run on Mt. Van Hoevenberg. At more than 7,000 feet long, the manufacturer, ADG Mountainsides, calls it the longest mountain coaster in North America.

I vaguely remember riding a mountain coaster when I was a kid (maybe in Gatlinburg?), but haven't been on one since. Putting one next to a bobsled run seems brilliant to me, as that's a comparable experience that many people are watched, thanks to the Winter Olympics. The coaster cars here are even styled to look like a Team USA bobsled.

But the pacing on these seems far different from a roller coaster, since it's free fall all the way down, as opposed to the ever-flowing transitions between up and down that make roller coasters so much fun.

Maybe I will get back on one of these some day. But until then, I'd love to hear about your alpine/mountain coaster experiences. Which ones do you recommend to roller coaster and thrill ride fans?

Replies (4)

October 21, 2020, 6:22 PM

I think they're kinda fund. I like that you can control the speed, although that's also frustrating if the person in front of you is going too slow. The funnest version I rode was at the Great Wall outside of Beijing. You rode a chair lift up and could ride the sled coaster down.

October 21, 2020, 8:51 PM

I like em, having some control of the experience in the brake and good speed turns is great. Sadly don’t see em enough, presumably cos you can’t just put em anywhere, and capacity is limited.

October 21, 2020, 8:51 PM

I like em, having some control of the experience in the brake and good speed turns is great. Sadly don’t see em enough, presumably cos you can’t just put em anywhere, and capacity is limited.

October 21, 2020, 9:49 PM

I've been on a fair few mountain coasters, mostly at various ski resorts I've visited. These are becoming incredibly popular year-round activities for such places, as they can usually operate in the winter during ski season (unless they get buried, of course), then anchor a summer operation comprised of other outdoor adventure activities. The best I've ridden is the Rocky Mountain Coaster (no relation to Rocky Mountain Construction) at Copper Mountain in Colorado, which contains a lengthy downhill run and does not feature the trim brakes found on some other installations, allowing riders to go full speed down the mountain. For those looking for installations near theme parks, Branson (home of Silver Dollar City) hosts a couple, and the Runaway there is the best I've done that isn't on a ski mountain. The Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area (home of Dollywood) has an impressive seven, with the Coaster at Goats on the Roof being my favorite of those I've tried there.

For mountain coaster novices, the intensity of these is similar to a family coaster, but the sensation is not the same. Rides are almost exclusively a gentle downhill slope composed of turns and never getting more than a couple stories off the ground, but it's quite fun flying through the woods and dodging trees on the way down. For added thrill, I recommend riding at night if the ride is open late enough.

Also, Robert, as mountain coasters are a relatively new invention (I think they only started appearing within the last 20 years), I'm guessing what you experienced was likely an alpine slide, which was essentially the predecessor. I've done a handful of those as well, and those can be quite wild as there's nothing keeping the cart inside the trough. It surprises me that they continue to operate at so many ski resorts today, as I know a couple friends who have crashed their cart and gotten mild to moderate injuries on them.


Need Discount Tickets?

Get Our Newsletter