Also, someone who knows the park, please tell me this: Must you pay for and ride the tram to get to where the alpine coaster is? Or can you just get off the interstate, ride once and leave (which is what we want to do)?
I haven't been there yet, but I will have the requested information for you before your trip out west. I'm hoping to hit the alpine coaster either on my way to or back from Lagoon. Seeing as I'm moving back to the midwest in August, I have to get these parks in now or it'll be a loooong time before I'll have another chance.
Parking is free.
All the attractions are on top of the mountin (well not the top, but it's really up there). In order to reach the attractions you must ride the gondola at a price of $10/person. This includes nothing else, just transportation to the top and it is your only option. I'd say the gondola ride takes about 10-15 minutes. Assuming that you don't have to wait in line for the gondola and one is approaching (they have four running on a contiuous loop so it's never long), that means at least 20-30 minutes just to get there and back.
Once on top you must purchase coins for the rides and sign a waiver before riding anything. Prices were $7/ride or a 3-pack for $18 (might have been $17). The coins are good on the coaster, zip line, and swing shot.
My mini TR:
My wife and I were heading to the western slope for a 3 day camping excursion with our two dogs. On the way we passed through Glenwood Springs and my wife was kind enough to let me ride while she took the dogs (since they weren't allowed) to a park just down the road along the CO River.
I bought a ticket for the gondola and was able to board immediately with a family on vacation from Cleveland. We had some good discussions about Ohio, since I used to live in Columbus, and they had all sorts of questions about CO.
Once topside I was looking for the ticket booth since I was going to hit the coaster once and then head back down so that we could get our mini-vacation back on track.
They only had one person working the drawer for tickets, and this was the only place to get tickets to do ANYTHING. Lucky me got right behind a lady buying one of everything for about 10 people. While waiting two guys came over and said they had two coins they would sell for $10. I jumped at the opportunity, but still had to wait to turn in my waiver and receive a wristband.
Finally I head over the the alpine coaster and get right on. Seat belt buckled, a few instructions and I'm off. Around a left hand turn, down the biggest single drop and under the lift hill and we're cooking now. This thing hugs the ground and is mostly turns with some straightaways that have triple downs (just little bumps with no airtime). Some turns are underbanked and I slow down since this was my first time. I giggled through the entire course and absolutely had a blast. At the bottom there is a lift that takes you back to the top, a long, slow lift that is.
Back on top I realize that a line had formed and about 10 minutes later I'm reading to go again, though this time I wasn't about the slow down unless I had to. I asked the lady at the top to give me a little more distance between me and the cart in front of me and then I'm off. No letting up as I lean into the turns, refusing to use the brakes even when I know I should. I finally catch up with the people in front of me near the bottom and slow down to keep the required distance between our carts. Another long slow lift hill to the top and then back to the gondola.
On the way down I sat so that I was facing downhill and realized that this was an awesome view of Glenwood Springs. Too bad I didn't notice on the way up since I was immersed in conversation and facing uphill. I reach the bottom and call my wife who picks me up and then we're off for some hiking and camping in the arid western slope of CO.
As for the rest of the place, the zip line looked fun, but I never walked over to get a good look at it. I just saw it reach the end while in line for the coaster. It had some serious speed to it before it stopped and then it bounced back and forth like an S&S tower. I never even saw the sling shot (or whatever it was), since I was in a hurry. I'd love to go back when I have some time and try everything out and even do the cave tour. It took me a little over an hour to do what I did and it cost me $20. It was worth it, but I caught a break on the coins.
Den, for two people it will cost $20 to get to the top and then you'll probably want the 3 coin deal so you can each ride once and then someone gets a second ride or can try one of the other attractions. So you're talking close to $40 and around an hour to fit it all in. It's only a minute or two (depending on lights) off of the highway, so it's definately accessable to someone passing through. Is it worth it? I really can't answer that. The coaster isn't nearly as thrilling as I thought it would be, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. I'd go back, but mostly for the stuff I didn't have time to do (and a few more laps on the coaster). :) Hope this helps.
*** Edited 7/29/2005 3:30:06 AM UTC by Incidentalist***
They recently opened the first ever alpine coaster in the U.S. It is similar to the alpine slides found at several ski resorts in the summer months, except that it rides on rails instead of riding in the cement trough.
Given your description, it's likely we won't stop, though. We'll be driving from Denver to Arches National Park in one day, and we want plenty of time to explore there before it gets dark, so an hour might be a little more time than I'm willing to spend.
Sounds like fun though. I may end up moving to Colorado someday, so maybe I'll ride it eventually. :)
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