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Riding a Mountain Coaster

The first thing most ski resorts turn to when trying to attract a summer crowd is mountain biking. Not all of us mountain bike. Even if I did, I doubt I’d have the nerve or skill to bike a trail that loses 3,000 feet in 3 miles. So I was happy to see that Snowbird had non-biking activities that suited me. My favorite is the mountain coaster. Each car holds one person, and that person has the power use the brake—or not.

The track looks like a conventional roller coaster—lots of twists and sharp turns, but no loops. The first part is a haul uphill, like most coasters, to give the car the potential energy it will need to complete the course. At the top, the coaster begins to wind its way through the woods, coming what appears to be dangerously close to the trees. The last section is a downhill spiral, at the end of which the rider must apply the brakes to prevent the car from a sudden, and complete, stop.

The last section of the mountain coaster.

The first time I rode the coaster, I had just come from riding the summer version of the bobsled. On that ride, using the brakes were mandatory to prevent tipping at the curves. But the coaster is attached to the track in such a way that it will not tip regardless of speed. I was assured that the idea on the coaster was NOT to use the break except at the end.

Braking at the end.

Most people ride the coaster without using the brakes, but a few get scared and slow down on the curves. They try to leave enough space between each rider to account for that, because if someone does slow, the car behind is obligated to slow down to prevent a crash.

I rode many times over two days—brake free! Lots of fun.

Stopped at the bottom of the "summer bobsled."

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