What’s a mountain coaster? Basically, it’s a gravity-fuelled ride along a metal pipe secured to the ground. Riders sit in individual cars and control their speed via a hand-braking system, pushing forward to go faster, or pulling up to slow down. The popularity of mountain coasters is flying high right now and they are popping up at many mountain destinations and resorts throughout North America. Here are three to try this summer in Western Canada.
Pipe Mountain Coaster – Revelstoke, B.C.
This coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort first opened in 2016, and, due to its off-the-charts popularity, a second pipe coaster track will open this season. The original is 1.4 kilometres long, while the second coaster is just over 2 km. Both offer twists, turns, and tunnels. This is a family-friendly experience (children aged three and up who are 3’2″ or taller can ride the Pipe with a driver who is 16 or over, provided the passenger is no taller than the driver’s shoulders when seated), but even gut-hardened thrill-seekers will get a rush from “The Pipe.”
Open: May to late-September, 2023 (weather dependent); $35
Railrider Mountain Coaster – Golden, B.C
When it officially opens in May, the Railrider at the Golden Skybridge will become the largest mountain coaster of its kind in Canada. Reaching speeds up to 50 km/hour and plunging more than 650 metres down the mountain, it promises to be a hair-raising thrill ride through the forest. (Maybe eat your snack after your ride.)
Open: May 12 to Oct. 9, 2023; adult admission $79 (includes all Skybridge activities in addition to the coaster, as well as general admission)
Canyon Coaster – Red Deer, Alta.
Located at the better-than-you-think Canyon Ski Resort, Alberta’s first and only mountain coaster, which opened in August of last year, is a hoot, and a scream (and, hopefully, not more than that). This pipe coaster is nearly 1.5-km long, and descends more than 130 metres to the canyon floor. Not surprisingly, it’s mega popular. On weekends, especially, it’s best to reserve your tickets in advance.
Open: May 20 to Oct. 8, 2023; $25