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North Carolina’s first mountain coaster on course to open this summer

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Mountain Technology,

The owner of the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, a mountain coaster being constructed at Sugar Mountain Resort in North Carolina, US, has told the Watauga Democrat that he hopes the ride will open in July or August this year.

Eric Bechard said: “We’ll be the first one in North Carolina. There are about 20 of them in the US. Worldwide, there are about 250 of them. Most mountain coasters are built around ski resorts. It compliments the ski resort. We can run it all year round, you can run it in the snow, you can run it in the rain.”

The project began three years ago, and the components of the coaster are currently in transit in containers from Austria, where they were manufactured.

Bechard added that many surrounding trees in the area will be kept: “You only need a 20-foot path (for the ride. We tried to keep as much wilderness as possible. We’re Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, it wouldn’t be much of a wilderness run without the wilderness.”

Guests on the two-person ride will be pulled up 770 ft in carts to the top, then go down a 2160-ft downtrack, which will start out with a full left-turning loop. Along with a U-turn, the ride has another three-quarter turn and another full right-turn loop, before returning to the start.

“You get pulled up, much like you would on a ski lift, then gravity allows you to get up to a top speed of 27 mph,” Bechard said. “From when you get in the car and start moving going up to when you finish the ride, in the same spot, it’s about a seven-minute ride.”

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