[R304R, Okemo Mountain Resort] in Ludlow, Vt., is working through a three-pronged permitting process and final financial arrangements for a Thanksgiving weekend introduction of The Okemo Mountain Coaster.

Bonnie MacPherson of Okemo said, "This four-season attraction will offer a scenic and exhilarating ride through the forests and along the contours of the mountain at Jackson Gore."

Okemo is working with Alpine Recreation Ventures to install the roller-coaster ride manufactured by Wiegland. The Wiegland coaster cars are firmly connected on maintenance-free stainless steel tubular rails.

MacPherson said the sled-like cars are designed to carry two passengers in comfort but can be handled easily by one alone. The riders are in control of the speed and this gives them a unique hands-on experience, encouraging repeat visits. The supporting structure sits directly on the ground without foundations and is held firmly in position with steel stakes.

Visitors, age 7 and older, will load and unload The Okemo Mountain Coaster in the Jackson Gore base area, near the bottom of the Coleman Brook Express lift. The ride will start with a 1,600-foot climb lasting about five minutes. Then, passengers will descend 375 vertical feet along 3,100 feet of track that follows the contours of the mountain with added waves, camel backs and banking loops at speeds up to 25 mph. At optimal efficiency, the mountain coaster will accommodate nearly 500 riders per hour and operate year-round in most weather conditions. Rates are still to be determined but will be priced per ride with a multi-ride option.

There are currently six similar mountain coaster rides located in North America. The nearest is Jiminy Peak, in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts.

 "The Okemo Mountain Coaster will serve as an anchor for other Jackson Gore summer activities," said Ted Reeves, VP of Okemo Real Estate and Development. "It will become another fun alternative family activity in winter."

More information, call 802-228-1600.