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Satisfy Your Summer Need For Speed On Alpine Coasters


Hangin' on at Snowbird coaster. (Snowbird/Facebook)

As summer hits its full stride across the West, mountain resorts put their hot-weather activities front and center – including a plethora of mountain coasters that rush down trails and slopes.

Known also as alpine coasters, these thrill-makers typically have two seats and run on two solid rails that turn and twist and, sometimes, go in complete circles. Most coasters begin with a ride up a mountain lift, and require youngsters to be a certain height and all riders under a maximum weight. Resorts charge by the single ride, all-day pass or as part of a full menu of summer activities.

Here’s some of the coasters that SnoCountry.com found:

Snow King Cowboy Coaster

Snow King. Owned by Jackson Hole Resort, the 3,300-foot ride down Jackson’s town hill reaches 25 mph for a ride full of loops and bridges that lasts about three minutes. Ride up on Snow King’s triple chair.

Approaching a 360 turn at Vail (Vail/Facebook)

Vail. The Forest Flyer starts off at the upper-mountain Epic Discovery Center. The two-seater winds through forests and ski trails for 3,400 feet. Access is at the top of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

Headin' into the trees at Heavenly (Heavenly/Facebook)

Heavenly. The Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster kicks off after a gondola ride up to the ridge-top Adventure Center. The 3,400-foot ride descends 300 vertical feet through forests, past boulders and always with a view of Lake Tahoe.

Steamboat. The northern Colorado resort expects to open the Outlaw Mountain Coaster off the Christy Peak Express chair in August. Touted as the longest in North America, the coaster shoots folks along 6,280 feet of track that descends 400 vertical feet with dips, waves, turns and 360-degree circles.

Getting ready to load coaster at Park City (Park City Mountain/Facebook)

Park City. Take a ride up the Crescent out of the main base area and strap into the Alpine Coaster. Reach speeds of 30 mph.

Snowbird. Board the Mountain Coaster at the base of the Peruvian Chair and get hauled to the top. From there, the track twists and turns down the frontside of the Utah mountain for 3,120 feet.

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