Revelstoke’s new roller coaster winds down mountain, through forests

Pipe Mountain Coaster

In years past, you’d need to learn how to ski, snowboard, or even mountain bike to find out why British Columbia’s Revelstoke Mountain is so renowned—but that’s about to change. 

On May 21, the resort is opening The Pipe Mountain Coaster, a new roller coaster that runs down the mountain, reaching speeds of up to 42 kilometres per hour, and giving thrill-seekers the same shot of adrenaline that biking down the mountain would. 

The cars ride along a single, 1.4-kilometre track that drops a total of 279 metres. It travels overtop wide-open plateaus that offer stunning views and heads down tight pathways that cut through forests.

“It has a bit of an edge to it, it brings you into nature—you interact with nature but it’s thrilling at the same time,” Peter Nielsen, vice-president of operations at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, told CBC News.

Let’s just hope you don’t “interact with nature” too closely. The new coaster is gaining lots of attention, but some have expressed concerns that heading into forested regions with no protective shell could spell trouble, especially if any wildlife should cross your path. Others are convinced the sound of the coaster would keep animals at bay.

The good news is, the coaster does allow you to control your speed, which is one reason Revelstoke is marketing it as “family friendly.” Children must be eight years old to ride on their own, but kids as young as three can ride with their parents. 

Despite its mixed reviews, the promotional video has amassed more than 200,000 views.

“The reaction was almost immediate,” Nielson said. “We had a target of seeing maybe 50,000 to 100,000 views. We had that in the first couple of hours.”

They’re hoping all that online interest is an indication of how many visitors they’ll see this summer, which is becoming a bigger priority for mountain resorts across the country. While summer was once considered “the off-season,” ski resorts are trying to change that by offering sight-seeing gondola rides, hiking, mountain biking, down-hill go cart tracks, zip lining, and even waterparks.

But Revelstoke’s coaster is the first of its kind in North America, and offers a completely unique experience.

“Very few people in North America have tried this, unless they’ve tried it in the Alps or in Asia,” Nielson told the Calgary Herald. “It’s definitely worth a visit.”