Mid-Week Tangent: the mountain adventure you didn’t know you needed

Ahhh, the mountains. The mountains bring silence, solitude, and communion with nature. They provide the perfect breeding ground for adventure, be it hiking, biking, climbing, or mountaineering…or roller coasters?  Yes, that’s right, I said roller coasters. Down a mountain.

While most of us, myself included, go to the mountains to take a step away from civilization, now you can buck all that nature crap and fly down a mountain, loosely tethered to a metal track, at speeds of 42 km/hour. And I have to say, even as someone who legitimately loves nature, you need this coaster in your life.  For the not-at-all-bargain price of $23, you will get 3-4 minutes of sheer terror masquerading as fun.

Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore a good roller coaster. The bigger, faster and more terrifying the better. But here’s the thing I realized riding this relatively tame mountain coaster: apparently I have a lot more faith in roller coaster engineers than mountain coaster engineers.  Also, most modern roller coasters have you so strapped in that the element of risk seems incredibly low.  On this little number you are out there, by yourself, loosely belted in to a tiny little toboggan style sled that barely seems to contain a grown adult. Translation: it does not feel safe.

The track itself is this narrow piece of metal that hardly seems designed for this type of ride. I am sure it has been rigourously tested, but the rational mind rarely influences the emotional mind that screams: I AM GOING TO FLY OFF THIS TRACK…and not only might I fly off the track, but we are in bear country which means my badly bruised and broken body has the added risk of becoming a lunch time grizzly snack. Yes, this is the way my mind works.

Despite going at speeds that I don’t correlate with being overly fast (the maximum is 42/km hour, and that assumes that you don’t pull back on the accelerator at all), when you throw in more than a handle of hair-pin turns on a tiny track, it feels faster and more dangerous than any roller coaster I’ve been on in years. Thankfully you do get to choose your own adventure in terms of speed and. You have a throttle that allows you to decelerate to a near crawl should you choose to, or to go blazing down the mountain at full speed like you have a death wish or at least no healthy sense of fear.

Me? I told my partner that he had to ride in the car behind me so I could go as fast as I wanted because he said he was scared. In the back my mind, though, I sort of wondered if I’d chicken out and did I ever. The second I launched myself out of the starting gate, I was pulling that throttle back like nobody’s business, petrified of taking a turn at full speed. My partner on the other hand? I could hear him hooting and hollering with glee. And he caught up with me. Sigh.

If it sounds like I thought this ride was awful, I assure you it’s the polar opposite. It was freaking fantastic. It was terrifying, mind you, but it was fantastic. Had it not come with a $23 price tag per ride, you bet your ass I would’ve spent the entire day riding that thing until I worked up the nerve to do it completely sans breaks. Alas, I only had my one opportunity (this year, at least). But to any thrill seekers out there, this thing looks tame on the surface, but I promise you it’s a mountain adventure worth having.

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