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Say cheese! An automatic Coaster Cam snaps your photo midway through the Appalachian Express adventure.

Say cheese! An automatic Coaster Cam snaps your photo midway through the Appalachian Express adventure.

Copyright: Camelback Mountain, Aquatic Development Group (ADG)

During the dismal December of a recent ski season, one of the worst snow years and ski season starts for Colorado in decades was pointing and laughing at our family’s annual ski trip. Yet here we were at Copper Mountain in early January, thinking about how great the snow on the sides of the runs was holding up considering (and compared to the other ski resort we’d just ice skated for only two of a planned four days to ring in the New Year). But the laughs and woohooing coming from just below the canopy would tell a different story. 

*Jump to Rockies Coasters*

*Jump to Northeast Coasters*

*Jump to Canada Coasters*

*Jump to Lake Tahoe Coasters*

*Jump to Midwest Coasters*

A pristine glade stash? It was not. From the American Flyer lift, we watched person after delighted person speed and slither through the trees on Copper Mountain’s new Rocky Mountain Coaster, which opened December 2017. Alpine coaster riders descend about as fast as the average skier on a well-chosen, albeit predetermined line of adventure. But still, I had to wonder: were mountain coaster passengers having as much fun as the skiers on the mountain? 

Ski Resorts Diversify Offering Mountain Coaster Rides

One indicator may perhaps be the number of mountain coasters going up at ski resorts, especially trending in Colorado with new rides recently popping up at Copper, Steamboat, Snowmass and Purgatory. Likened to an alpine slide on rails, this type of attraction has become a popular destination diversifier as ski resorts in North America start to resemble those in Europe in the way they cater to non-skiing guests all year long. Mountain travelers who opt out of skiing for any number of reasons, it would appear, will no longer be relegated to the tubing hill, the shopping strip or all-day après (après snowshoe, that is)

"While we did see a fair number of guests coming just for the coaster, in general, even skiers and riders are looking for more activities to do at ski resorts other than skiing and riding," Copper Mountain's Public Relations Manager, Taylor Prather says of the resort's first winter operating the Rocky Mountain Coaster. "There were plenty of Coaster riders going up and down in their ski boots, all hours of the day, so many are simply taking a break from the slopes for a little fun in between runs."

For those destination/overnight visitors who don’t ski or don’t want to ski every day, Copper's coaster is a great activity to complement their vacations, Prather adds. Similarly, Steamboat is seeing "a combination of use," according to the mountain's Sr. Communications Manager, Loryn Kasten. 

"Many skiers and snowboarders ride the mountain coaster when they’re not sliding on the slopes (a day off, during the evening hours, etc). Steamboat guests who like the snow but don’t ski or snowboard love the mountain coaster because it allows them to be on the mountain in another way." 

Alpine coasters are as fun as they look.  - © Dan Bayer

Alpine coasters are as fun as they look.

Copyright: Dan Bayer

Snowmass' alpine coaster debuted in December of 2017 "as part of our Lost Forest project to provide multi-season, non-ski activities for guests," reports Public Relations Manager, Tucker Vest Burton, who mentions accessibility—for all ages, athletic abilities and families—as a key draw.

While similar in usage, speed and scenery, mountain coasters across different ski resorts appear to differ in their course elements and through one other fundamental feature: braking. "The Breathtaker Alpine Coaster is a user-operated ride," says Vest Burton. "Drivers are responsible for controlling their speed, maintaining a safe distance between sleds and stopping at the finish." At Copper, however, an automatic braking system manages the distance between coaster carts, but riders can also control speed with manual hand brakes. Steamboat emphasizes safety with a hands-on braking system: "Guests engage the sled by pushing the side levers down. When they want to brake, they raise the levers, allowing them to control their own speed. If a guest takes their hands off the levers, the sled stops," Kasten says. "Controlling one's speed during the ride is the key to a fun, safe ride." 

Ski Resort Mountain Coasters in the U.S. & Canada

Looking to get coasty? Check out this list of ski resort alpine coasters across North America organized by region and length, many of which are set up to thrill year-round, come snow or shine. See also the resort-provided videos below to get a feel for what some of these mountain coaster experiences are like straight from the tracks.  

Don't see your favorite mountain coaster on our list? Contact Feedback_OTS@mountainnews.com and let us know what we're missing. Editors' Note: Prices may change throughout the year to vary from what’s published here. Please click through to check with the resort directly.

Mountain Coasters in the Rockies


Outlaw Mountain Coaster, Steamboat Springs, Colorado

• Ride Length: 6,280 linear feet, descending 400 vertical feet
• Location: Near Christie Peak Express
• Cost: $20 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under
• Fun Facts: The longest coaster in North America, which takes about 10 minutes, The Outlaw Mountain Coaster rises up to 40 feet above the ground and cruises at speeds up to 27 mph.

Rocky Mountain Coaster at Copper, Colorado  

• Ride Length: 5,800, descending 430 vertical feet
• Location: Next to the American Flyer Lift
• Cost: $25 for a driver, $10 for a passenger
• Fun Facts: Average grade for the Rocky Mountain Coaster at Copper is 10.9 percent. 

Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, Snowmass, Colorado

• Ride Length: More than a mile
• Location: Adjacent to Elk Camp Restaurant
• Cost: Depends on the package purchased
• Fun Facts: Operates at night during Ullr Nights festivities and special holidays

Glade Runner Mountain Coaster, Bogus Basin, Idaho

• Ride Length: 4,330 feet 
• Location: Simplot Lodge Base Area
• Cost: Single ride $15, tandem ride $25 
• Fun Facts: Idaho’s only mountain coaster 


Inferno Mountain Coaster, Purgatory Resort, Colorado

• Ride Length: 4,000 feet
• Location: Near the Eolus building and Twilight Lift 4
• Cost: $20 per person
• Fun Facts: The ride features nine switchbacks and one 360 degree loop

Park City Alpine Coaster, Utah

• Ride Length: Nearly 4,000 feet
• Location: Part of the Park City Mountain Adventure Park located in the Park City Mountain Village  
• Cost: $27 for a driver, $12 for a passenger 

Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, Vail, Colorado

• Ride Length: 3,400 feet
• Location: Epic Discovery
• Fun Facts: The Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster follows the natural contours of the landscape as it winds down the mountain. 

Cowboy Coaster, Snow King Mountain, Wyoming

• Ride Length: 3,295 feet, descending 456 vertical feet
• Location: Base area
• Cost: $20 for a driver, $10 for a passenger
• Fun Facts: The track gets as high as 43 feet off the ground and features four circles and six bridges.

Snowbird Mountain Coaster

• Ride Length: 3,120 feet
• Location: Near the base of the Peruvian Express chairlift outside of the Snowbird Center
• Cost: $21 for adults, $10 for children

Goldrunner, Breckenridge, Colorado 

• Ride Length: 2,500 feet
• Location: Base of Peak 8 between Rip’s Ride chairlift and Kids Castle
• Fun Facts: Breck was the first Colorado ski resort to build an alpine coaster (opened in the winter 2010/2011 season). Start your ride at an elevation of 10,230 feet, before racing down the mountain, hitting speeds of up to 25mph on 2,500 feet of elevated roller coaster track as you enjoy a thrilling journey around and through the forest.

Mountain Coasters in the Northeast 


Beast Mountain Coaster, Killington, Vermont

• Ride Length: 4,800 feet
• Location: Snowshed Adventure Center at Killington Resort
• Fun Facts: 360-degree corkscrews through the woods 

Appalachian Express, Camelback Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania

• Ride Length: 4,500 feet
• Cost: $12 per rider, $20 for rider and driver
• Fun Facts: Say cheese! An automatic Coaster Cam snaps your photo midway through the Appalachian Express adventure, the only ride of its kind in the state. 


Nor’easter Mountain Coaster, Greek Peak Mountain Resort, New York

• Ride Length: 4,300 feet
• Location: Adventure Center Base Lodge
• Cost: $11

Gunstock Mountain Resort Mountain Coaster, New Hampshire

• Ride Length: Nearly 4,100 feet
• Location: Discover Zone
• Cost: $16 weekend/holiday, $12 midweek
• Fun Facts: The downhill track is designed with swooping turns, banked corners, rolling drops and 360° turns.

Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster, Berkshire East, Massachusetts

• Ride Length: 3,870 feet
• Location: Base of the mountain
• Cost: $15 ages 9+, $10 ages 6-8, ages 5 and under ride free
• Fun Facts: The Thundebolt Mountain Coaster is powered by wind turbines and an array of solar panels and features a computer-assisted safety system that stops the coaster if the seat belt is disengaged.

Jiminy's Mountain Coaster, Jiminy Peak, Massachusetts

• Ride Length: 3,600 feet
• Location: Mountain Adventure Park
• Fun Facts: Jiminy’s Mountain Coaster was one of the first alpine coasters in the United States.

Mountain Coaster at Wisp Resort, Maryland 

• Ride Length: 3,500 feet downhill over 350 vertical feet
• Location: Eastern side of Wisp Mountain
• Cost: $14 for a single rider, $19 for a double rider
• Fun Facts: At the end of the Mountain Coaster ride, an automated camera captures the coaster experience.

Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster, Okemo, Vermont

• Ride Length: 3,100 feet, 375 vertical descent
• Location: Jackson Gore base area, near the bottom of the Coleman Brook Express lift
• Cost: $18 driver, $13 rider 
• Fun Facts: The coaster's 3,100 feet of track follows the contours of the mountain with added waves, camel backs, banking loops and a twister section. At optimal efficiency, the mountain coaster will accommodate nearly 500 riders per hour and operate year round in most weather conditions.

Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster, Holiday Valley, New York 

• Ride Length: 2,940 feet
• Location: Near the Tannenbaum Lodge
• Cost: $10
• Fun Facts: The ride features 15 curves of varying length, 12 waves, one jump, plus a huge circle/spiral, descending a max grade of 23.6 percent.

Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster, Attitash, New Hampshire

• Ride Length: 2,880 feet
• Location: Base of the mountain
• Cost: $17 

Cranmore Mountain Coaster, New Hampshire

• Ride Length: 2,390 feet
• Location: Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park
• Cost: $15 for 43"+, $10 for 39"-42"
• Fun Facts: Thousands of feet of twisting, turning fun flying through the woods. You control the speed for a leisurely ride or a screaming fast run through to the end. 

Mountain Coasters in Canada 

Viking, Sommet Saint-Sauveur, Quebec

• Ride Length: 1.5 km (3,281 feet)
• Cost: $12.99
• Fun Facts: An investment of $ 2.5 million, Viking took its first voyage in 2009 and was designed by the German company Wiegand. 

The Pipe Mountain Coaster, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

• Ride Length: 1.4 km (4,593 feet)
• Location: Revelation Lodge
• Cost: $25 for a rider, $10 for a passenger
• Fun Facts: Riders travel across ski runs, between glades and through a tunnel up to 42km/hour (26 mph).

Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, Blue Mountain Ski Area, Ontario

• Ride Length: 1 km (3,281 feet)
• Cost: $17 for adults (13+) Monday-Friday and $19 weekends and holidays, $14 for youth Monday-Friday and $16 weekends and holidays.

Mountain Coasters in Lake Tahoe 


Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster, Heavenly, Lake Tahoe

• Ride Length: 3,400 feet over a 300-foot vertical drop
• Location: Epic Discovery
• Cost: $30
• Fun Facts: Coast through forest, natural rock formations and two lateral loops with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe.


Mountain Coasters in the Midwest


Timber Twister, Spirit Mountain, Minnesota

• Ride Length: 3,200 feet
• Location: Adventure Park
• Cost: $14 for a single rider, $19 for a double rider
• Fun Facts: Speed through the Minnesota forest with views of the St. Louis River on the only ride of its kind in the region

Have your own mountain coaster pics to share? Email them to feedback@skiinfo.com with the mountain, photo caption and credit, and we'll add them to our gallery.  


Appalachian Express photo op - © Camelback Mountain, Aquatic Development Group (ADG)
Copper coaster, night views - © Copper Mountain
Outlaw Mountain Coaster, Steamboat Springs, Colorado - © Larry Pierce/Steamboat Ski Resort
Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, Vail, Colorado - © Vail Resorts

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