Resort brings roller coaster to mountains | ParkRecord.com

Resort brings roller coaster to mountains

Dan Bischoff, Of the Record Staff

Audrey Giles is working on the "Human Maze," one of the many attractions at the Park City Mountain Resort.

While June 21 is, technically, the first full day of summer, many consider Memorial Day weekend the official gateway to the season. The celebration for those that died for freedom gives employees the day off with their families to enjoy warm weather, flame-broiled barbecues and other recreation.

Park City Mountain Resort is joining the initial summer kickoff. They opened for the season Friday later this summer will add roller coaster to their myriad attractions. All other rides and attractions will be open this weekend.

Unlike an amusement park roller coaster, the Alpine Coaster will allow the rider, in one- or two-person toboggans, a custom ride by controlling their own speeds.

"The Alpine Coaster is certainly an exhilarating ride; the uphill portion allows the riders to experience the beautiful mountain environment in contrast with the downhill portion, which provides speed and precision with the rider at the controls," said Tom Pettigrew, director of summer operations for Park City Mountain Resort.

The Alpine Coaster transports riders to the top of the mountain via a tubular rail system. Once there, the toboggans release, gravity takes over, and the riders are transported downhill through a series of bends, curves and bumps. The Alpine Coaster track passes over the Resort Skiway, on a bridge, suspended 20 feet above the ground. The double-decker bridge is more than 240 feet long and acts much like the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge where the downhill traffic is above the uphill traffic. The total track length will be nearly 4,000 feet.

Although similar to the Alpine Slide in being able to regulate speed, there are marked differences that will attract visitors. Both have a breaking system. In the slide a rider can completely stop. The coaster will allow a passenger to accelerate to a point where an automatic braking system may kick in depending on the curve. The Coaster will be self-propelled and self-contained.

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"Alpine Slide is set into the earth; the coaster is on an elevated track," said Justin Archibald, Park City Mountain Resort Marketing manager. "You will have a better view and a more of a roller coaster feel. With the elevated track you have more of a sensation of flying. The slide is certainly bumpy but the coaster will have a smooth quiet ride to it."

Park City Mountain Resort opens this weekend. The scheduled grand opening for the Alpine Coaster is July 20, 2006. The cost is $15 per ride. Guests can also purchase an Alpine Slide/Alpine Coaster pass (one ride each) for only $20. The resort is also home to the world’s longest Zip-Ride. In addition, the Resort boasts lift-served mountain biking and hiking, a climbing wall, Legacy Launcher trampolines, a climbing wall, miniature golf, amusement park rides for the little kids at the Little Miner’s Park and guided horseback rides. New this past winter, The Legends Bar and Grill will be open and will provide indoor and outdoor seating during lunchtimes. For more information visit http://www.parkcitymountain.com or call 800-222-PARK (7275).