Ski Resort Mountain Coasters

Newsroom Best Of Topics Ski Resort Mountain Coasters

Mountain coasters — alpine slides on rails — can be found at ski areas across North America more and more. Coasters have become a popular activity diversifier as ski resorts cater to non-skiing guests all year long. Mountain travelers who opt out of skiing will no longer have to stick to the tubing hill, the shopping strip or all-day après snow fun. And skiers and snowboarders enjoy them, too.

For those destination/overnight visitors who don’t ski or don’t want to ski every day, mountain coasters are a great activity to complement their vacations. Riders who don’t ski or snowboard like the coaster because they can experience the mountain in another way. Summer mountain visitors consider the coasters a main attraction.

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. In some cases, drivers control the speed themselves and in others, the coasters are equipped with an automatic braking system between coaster carts.

Bogus Basin summer coaster.
Bogus Basin’s Glade Runner Mountain Coaster, is one of a kind in Idaho. ©Welton Photography

It all began when Stig Albertson came to the U.S. from Sweden in 1954 and rose to become the CEO of Bromley Mountain in Southern Vermont, a perennial family favorite. He introduced the first triple-tracked Alpine Slide in 1976. Albertson helped develop many of the safety innovations that made modern day mountain coasters commercially viable.

The original alpine slide from the 1970s is attached to rails and wends it way along the slope, usually on a closed 360-degree closed track. Later on, with the advent of the “mountain coaster,” riders didn’t have to be quite so careful because of guard rails and better braking. The coaster, sometimes called a summer toboggan, is actually a roller coaster and cannot leave the tracks.

A few resorts have what are called “pipe coasters.” This is essentially a single metal track rolling down the slopes. Riders jump into a go-kart-like contraption, and gravity takes care of the rest of the ride. You brake with something similar to a joy stick. A safety factor is a limitation of speed.

Wisp Mountain in Maryland takes it to a different level with a gravitational hybrid alpine slide and mountain coaster experience. Speed is regulated with handbrakes on the side of the cart and you’re pulled  from the cable at the top of the hill. Then, you’re on your own with gravity taking over.

So, there are a few different varieties, but they’re all fun and exciting. Give them a try.

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

Here are some of the alpine coasters across North America, 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.

Editor’s Note: Prices continually change, so it’s best to check directly with the resort.  Some have different prices for the driver and the passenger, as well. Remember, new coasters are added most years, so follow your favorite resort.

Mountain Coasters in Colorado

Rocky Mountain Coaster at Copper, Colorado

• Ride Length: 5,800, descending 430 vertical feet
• Location: Next to the American Flyer Lift
• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: 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
• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: Operates at night during Ullr Nights festivities and special holidays

Inferno Mountain Coaster, Purgatory Resort, Colorado

• Ride Length: 4,000 feet
• Location: Near the Eolus building and Twilight Lift 4
• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: The ride features nine switchbacks and one 360-degree loop

Goldrunner, Breckenridge, Colorado

• Ride Length: 2,500 feet
• Location: Base of Peak 8 between Rip’s Ride chairlift and Kids Castle

• Operates: Year round

• Fun Fact: 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 27mph on 2,500 feet of elevated roller coaster track as you enjoy a thrilling journey around and through the forest.

Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, Vail, Colorado

• Ride Length: 3,400 feet
• Location: Epic Discovery

• Operates: Summer only
• Fun Fact: The Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster follows the natural contours of the landscape as it winds down the mountain.

Mountain coaster in Idaho

Glade Runner Mountain Coaster, Bogus Basin, Idaho

• Ride Length: 4,330 feet
• Location: Simplot Lodge Base Area

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: Idaho’s only mountain coaster

Mountain coasters in Utah

Park City Village Mountain Coaster, Utah

• Ride Length: Nearly 4,000 feet
• Location: Part of the Park City Mountain Adventure Park located in the Park City Mountain Village

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: Utah’s longest coaster

Snowbird Mountain Coaster, Utah

• Ride Length: 3,120 feet
• Location: Near the base of the Peruvian Express chairlift outside of the Snowbird Center

• Operates: Summer only
• Fun Fact: Board coaster where you are pulled to top of track

Mountain coaster in Wyoming

Cowboy Coaster, Snow King Mountain, Wyoming

• Ride Length: 3,295 feet, descending 456 vertical feet
• Location: Base area

• Operates  Year round
• Fun Fact: The track gets as high as a 45-story building and features four circles and six bridges

Mountain coasters in Vermont

Alpine Slide, Bromley Mountain, Vermont

• Ride Length: 2/3 of a mile
• Location: On Bromley’s famous south-facing slope

• Operates: Year round

• Fun Facts: This is the so-called “grandaddy of them all” and is the first triple-tracked alpine slide in the world. It remains one of the most popular and longest anywhere after all those years…built in 1976.

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

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: The coaster’s 3,100 feet of the track follows the contours of the mountain with added waves, camelbacks, 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.

Mountain coasters in New York

Sky Flyer Mountain Coaster, Holiday Valley, New York 

• Ride Length: 2,940 feet
• Location: Near the Tannenbaum Lodge

• Operates: Summer; Winter Fri.-Sun.
• Fun Fact: 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, Greek Peak Mountain Resort, New York

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

• Operates: Year round

• Ride Length: 1.4 mile

• Location: Alongside the 1932 and 1980 Olympic bobsledding track

• Operates: Year end

• Fun Fact: The longest mountain coaster in North America

Mountain coasters in New Hampshire

Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster, Attitash, New Hampshire

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

• Operates: Year round

• Fun Fact: The longest North American slide located at Attitash.

Cranmore Mountain Coaster, New Hampshire

• Ride Length: 2,390 feet
• Location: Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park

• Operates: Year round

• Fun Fact: 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.

Gunstock Mountain Resort Mountain Coaster, New Hampshire

• Ride Length: Nearly 4,100 feet
• Location: Discover Zone

• Operates: Summer only
• Fun Fact: The downhill track is designed with swooping turns, banked corners, rolling drops and 360° turns.

Mountain coaster in Pennsylvania

• Ride Length: 4,500 feet
• Location: Mountain Adventure Center, next to Camelback Mountain Lodge
• Operates: April through Nov.
• Fun Fact:  An automatic Coaster Cam snaps your photo midway through the Appalachian Express adventure, the only ride of its kind in the state.

Mountain coasters in Massachusetts

Thunderbolt Mountain Coaster, Berkshire East, Massachusetts

• Ride Length: 3,870 feet
• Location: Base of the mountain

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: The Thunderbolt 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

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: Jiminy’s Mountain Coaster was one of the first alpine coasters in the United States.

Mountain coaster in Maryland

Mountain Coaster at Wisp Resort, Maryland 

• Ride Length: 3,500 feet downhill over 350 vertical feet
• Location: Eastern side of Wisp Mountain

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: This is a hybrid of an alpine slide and mountain coaster. At the end of the ride, an automated camera captures the coaster experience.

Mountain coasters in Canada 

 Viking, Sommet Saint-Sauveur, Quebec

• Ride Length: 1.5 km (3,281 feet)
• Location: On reliefs of mountain

• Operates: Year round

• Fun Fact: An investment of $ 2.5 million, Viking took its first voyage in 2009 and was designed by the German company Wiegand. It’s a hybrid of a roller coaster and summer sledging.

The Pipe Mountain Coaster, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, British Columbia

• Ride Length: 1.4 km (4,593 feet)
• Location: Revelation Lodge
• Operates: May through Oct.
• Fun Fact: Riders travel across ski runs, between glades and through a tunnel (“pipe”) up to 42km/hour (26 mph).

Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster, Blue Mountain Ski Area, Ontario

• Ride Length: 1 km (3,281 feet)

• Operates: Year round

• Fun Fact: First and only mountain coaster in Ontario

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

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: Coast through forest, natural rock formations and two lateral loops with panoramic views of Lake Tahoe.

Mountain coaster in Minnesota

Timber Twister, Spirit Mountain, Minnesota

• Ride Length: 3,200 feet
• Location: Adventure Park

• Operates: Year round
• Fun Fact: Speed through the Minnesota forest with views of the St. Louis River on the only ride of its kind in the region.

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