What is an alpine coaster?

The beautiful Attitash Mountain Resort in Mt. Washington

( Attitash Mountain Resort)

Imagine floating through a mountainous landscape, the wild flowers, vistas of the towering peaks at every turn, while the fresh air of the alps, flows through your hair.

No, you’re not on a zip line, gondola or even a mountain bike–you’ve jumped on board of an alpine coaster, a unique brand of roller coaster with a raised track that sends you soaring down a slope.

Alpine coaster-also known as mountain coasters– were invented in the middle of the 1990’s in Europe. Each sled is usually suitable for only one or two passengers in the gravity-driven, individually-controlled cars so riders can perfect control of the speed at which they zoom-a far cry from the high-tech coasters dominant theme parks of today.

Here are the top alpine coaster in the USA, from the mountains of Utah to Vermont:


  • 1.

    Glenwood Caverns, Colorado

    Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park

    The first mountain coaster in the U.S., Glenwood Caverns’ alpine coaster (opened in 2005), celebrated its one-millionth rider in 2015 and has been named one of the 10 best roller coasters of your life by Park World magazine.

    Paving the way for all future alpine coaster, Glenwood Caverns’ coaster zips through a pinon and juniper forest down to Iron Mountain, turn around and run around tons of trees. Last winter, the ride was upgraded with new cars and a brake system.

    The view is second to none with mountains on all sides, including the two peaks of the Mt. Sopris, the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys, as well as the City of Glenwood Springs. Take a night ride when the coaster is illuminated.

  • 2.

    Vail, Colorado

    Vail Resorts

    New on the roller coaster scene is a Forest Flyer, Vail Resort’s first foray into the mountains coasters and a part of the resort’s Epic Discovery program. Launched in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy and the U. S. Forest Service, this program offers a variety of activities in the mountains as zip-lining, summer, snakes, and wild animals paths with the goal of allowing visitors to better understand their natural surroundin

    The coaster winds its way down the mountain, with views of the city and plenty of aspen whizzing by. Or do you have a child who is 54 inches– the obligation to drive, only– but is at least 3 years and is 38 cm high, he or she can hop a ride with a parent.

  • 3.

    Lake Tahoe, California

    Vail Resorts

    Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe has its own Epic Discovery program that goes over the Ridge Rider Mountain Coaster, which opened in June.

    With spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and surrounded by rocks, the roller coaster shoots riders down 300 vertical feet, reach speeds up to 55 miles per hour. The coaster winds around 3400 meters of track, much of it a straight shot, but it is divided by two lateral loops.

    Other adventures in Heavenly’s Epic Discovery, a Skyway, Canopy tour, ropes course, zip line and a climbing wall.

  • 4.

    Jackson Hole, Wyoming

    Snow King Mountain Resort

    The Cowboy Coaster is known for its incredible views of the Tetons. Open summer and winter, the roller coaster takes riders more than 400 feet up the mountain and then travels down a series of 360-degree corkscrew twists and turns of more than four storeys above the ground on a number of points.

    Visitors can also go on the resort Alpine Slide, where riders navigate a luge-like slide.

  • 5.

    Snowbird (Utah, Usa)

    Snowbird Mountain Resort

    Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort Mountain Coaster operates at a height of 8500 feet above sea level. Two people can ride in each cart, that vessel by a forest of pines and aspens, along with a meadow, landing on the foot of the mountain.

    It is located less than 30 miles from the Salt Lake City International Airport, in the heart of the Wasatch Mountains, the resort offers a variety of warm-weather activities, including an alpine slide, an aerial tram to the 11,000 foot summit of Hidden Peak, the Mountain Flyer ride and a Vertical Drop with a 9-meter free-fall.

  • 6.

    Mt Washington Valley, New Hampshire

    Then Maki-Wiseguy Creative Photography

    Enjoy two mountain coasters in the Mount Washington Valley, home to 13 ski resorts with views of Mount Washington and is surrounded by more than 600,000 hectares of Natural Forest White Mountain.

    On the Cranmore Adventure Park, the board of directors the winding half-mile Mountain Coaster, which is active in the winter, bring your coat, hat and gloves!), the summer and autumn with great fall foliage scenery around. The park’s most popular year-round adventure, the roller coaster ride up through the forest with views of Mount Washington.

    At Attitash Mountain Resort, hop on a two-seater car on the Attitash Nor’Easter Mountain Coaster. Start with a 1400 foot beautiful trip up, followed by an exciting, almost 3000 metres dash through the forest along curves and many dips.

    The roller coaster is open in summer and autumn, and depending on the weather conditions in the winter.

  • 7.

    Killington, Vermont

    Chandler Burgess/Killington Resort

    You can handle 360-degree corkscrews along the Killington Resort 4800 meter long Beast Mountain Coaster, which twists and turns of Vermont’s Green Mountains?

    Built along a retired mountain bike trail, riders soar through a canopy with a rider-controlled brake system. The back-up “smart” braking system prevents collisions on the track in the case that you are too close to the rider ahead.

    While on the mountain, with a visit to Adventure Center activities like the 100-meter high Skyeride, 5000 square metres of Terra-Maze and gem mining.

  • 8.

    Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

    Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism

    A beautiful autumn in the shop when one of the two alpine coaster in Pigeon Forge, close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, America’s most visited national park. Fly by the brightly colored autumn leaves for a thrilling ride and scenic landscapes.

    Choose one of the Smoky Mountain Alpine Coaster or the Coaster at Goats on the Roof, both approximately one mile, that each descend into the same category.

  • 9.

    Breckenridge, Colorado

    Breckenridge Ski Resort, Jack Affleck

    If it is hot or cold, you can for a contest Breckenridge Resort Gold Runner Coaster all by your lonesome or with a friend. The 2,500 foot elevated track is located on the resort’s Summer Fun Park and accessible via a free funicular ride from the Center of Breckenridge.

    When riding the coaster in the winter, keep your eyes open for top-notch skiers– on the road, you have a great view of the resort’s famous Freeway Terrain Park, where professional athletes train in the ski season.

  • 10.

    Park City, Utah

    Park City Mountain Resort

    You will find Utah’s largest alpine coaster in Park City, the largest ski and snowboard resort in the USA. the coaster winds for a kilometre through a forest filled with aspens and offers a wonderful ski area views, reaching speeds up to 30 km per hour.

    Hold on tight through hairpin turns and steep descents as you reach the end.

  • 11.

    Spirit, Minnesota

    Visit Duluth

    With more than three storeys high, the Wood, Twister, entertains the guests along Lake Superior, in the Spirit Mountain in Minnesota.

    With expansive views of the lake, the St. Louis in the River and the City of Duluth, the roller coaster speeds down the hill through a forest. The coaster is a part of Spirit’s Adventure Park with a zip line, jumping pillow, mini-golf and disc golf.

  • Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based travel writer. She is the author of The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass. You can find her on or on Twitter via @GotoTravelGal.

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