Way back in 2005 the first alpine coaster in the United States was built in Colorado by the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Thus it is fitting that Colorado is at the forefront of the alpine coaster craze, just over a decade later. In the past couple of years Colorado has become home to five more mountain resort alpine coasters for a grand total of seven. That’s a fairly large number of alpine coasters per capita. Most other states boast one or two alpine coasters.
A Colorado alpine coaster ride offers a new way to speed down mountain slopes. No lessons necessary. Anyone who is 38″ or taller can ride with an adult and enjoy taking in Colorado’s amazing mountainous views while getting an adrenaline rush from this thrill ride. Do you want to know where you can take an alpine coaster ride? Here’s a comprehensive roundup of Colorado alpine coasters!
Colorado Alpine Coaster Round Up
- Alpine Coaster at Glenwood Caverns
- Breathtaker Coaster, Snowmass
- Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, Vail
- Goldrunner Alpine Coaster, Breckenridge
- Inferno Mountain Coaster, Purgatory
- Outlaw Mountain Coaster, Steamboat Springs
- Rocky Mountain Coaster, Copper Mountain
The Colorado Rocky Mountains are now home to the above seven alpine coasters. In 2005, the first Colorado alpine coaster was built in Glenwood Springs, the second in Breckenridge in 2010 and another five have opened over the past two years. Wikipedia credits Switzerland with having the highest alpine coaster in the world starting elevation of 9,747 feet. However, as you can see below, three of Colorado’s seven coasters start above 10,000 feet with the Forest Flyer on Vail Mountain being the highest at 10,350 feet.
Alpine Coaster, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
4,400 ft long | Max Speed 24 mph | 300 ft Vertical Drop | Sits at Approx. 7,100 ft Elevation
The alpine coaster at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park was installed in 2005 and was the first alpine coaster in America. The park’s owner, Steve Beckley, had to fly to Germany to convince the owner of Wiegand Sports (manufacturer) to let him build one in the U.S. It was named one of the 10Best Roller-coaster Rides of Your Life by USA TODAY and Park World magazine in 2014.
Breathtaker Coaster, Snowmass
5,700 ft long | Max Speed 28 mph | 400 ft Vertical Drop | Sits at Approx. 10,000 ft Elevation
The Breathtaker Coaster debuted Dec. 2017 featuring a 5,700 foot-long track with a total ride time of seven-to-nine minutes. The coaster spans 410 vertical feet with the speed controlled by the rider, and a tandem option for small children. The Breathtaker is open for both summer and winter operations and winds through the trees between Gunner’s View and Sandy Park ski trails. The coaster is the most accessible activity in the Lost Forest.
Forest Flyer Mountain Coaster, Vail
3,400 ft long | Sits at Approx. 10,350 ft
The Forest Flyer is just one of the new family-friendly attractions that debuted at Epic Discovery atop Vail Mountain in 2016, but it is one of our favorites. This raised alpine coaster winds its way 3,400 feet down the mountain, following the natural contours of the landscape through the forest.
Goldrunner Alpine Coaster, Breckenridge
2,300 ft long | Max Speed 25 mph | Sits at Approx. 10,230 ft Elevation
The Goldrunner Alpine Coaster was the first Alpine Coaster built at a Colorado Ski Resort. The GoldRunner Coaster was built in the trees between the Dyersville and Twister Runs. Using a bridge to link two tree islands, the coaster took up minimal ski terrain in this beginner area as it is housed within the trees.
Inferno Mountain Coaster, Purgatory Resort in Durango
4,000 ft long | Max Speed nearly 30 mph | 300 ft Vertical Drop | Sits at Approx. 8,790 ft Elevation
Opening the summer of 2018, Purgatory Resort in Durango, Colo. will feature a new mountain coaster, accessible right from the base area, located just north of the Twilight Lift 4. The new Inferno Mountain Coaster will operate during year-round, during winter/spring and summer/fall seasons. The coaster will be 4,000 feet in length with a 300 foot-vertical, and will feature nine switchbacks, one 360 degree loop, and multiple zig-zags and dips, giving guests another fun activity snow or shine.
Outlaw Mountain Coaster, Steamboat Springs
6,280 ft long | Max Speed 27 mph | 400+ ft Vertical Drop | Sits at Approx. 8,020 ft Elevation
The Outlaw Mountain Coaster, is the longest coaster in North America at more than 6,280 linear feet. The track near Christie Peak Express descends more than 400 vertical feet, rises up to 40 feet above the ground, and features dips, waves, turns and 360-degree circles.
Rocky Mountain Coaster, Copper Mountain
5,800 ft long | Max Speed 25 mph | 430 ft Vertical Drop | Sits at Approx. 9,712 ft Elevation
The Rocky Mountain Coaster opened December 2017. With an overall length of 5,800 feet and a vertical drop of 430 feet, the raised alpine coaster track runs along the natural curvature of the mountain with zigs, zags, dips and 360 degree turns for guaranteed thrills all the way down to Copper’s high alpine Center Village. It features an average 11 percent downhill grade allowing the carts to reach a max speed of 25 mph. For those seeking a mellow meander through the forest, the cart’s manual hand brakes give riders the freedom to go at their own pace.
More About Alpine Coasters
The beauty of the alpine roller coaster is that it exists in a spectacular natural mountain environment. No concrete jungle surrounds these thrill rides. Your car may wind, dip and make hairpin turns through a lush green forest. Or it may soar over an expansive ski slope with majestic mountains and blue skies as the backdrop. Riders breathe in fresh mountain air as they let out joyous screams while feeling the thrill.
This is an updated post from 2018.