Yesterday, I was informed of Snowbirdâ€™s proposed roller-coaster to be built on the lower flanks of Mount Superior. It would be dubbed the â€œMountain Coasterâ€ (pretty creativeâ€¦eh?) and would start about 400 vertical feet up the slopes of Mount Superior, have about 3,000â€™ of track ranging from 2-13â€™ off the ground, include a bridge over the Little Cottonwood Canyon Road and a 1000′ up track, and end in the vicinity of the Chickadee bunny slope. Opinions on this venture are mixedâ€¦including my own.
When I hear the term roller-coaster, I think of the Cyclone or other types of monstrosities that tower above the horizon. So when I saw the picture of the proposed “roller-coaster”, I realized that in reality, it is really just a twist on the old “alpine slide” some of you may be familiar with. Many resorts around the country have them, including Snow King here in Jackson, as well as Park City just on the other side of the mountains from Snowbird. (Click here to see the ride in Park City.) They can be a good source of revenue (and fun?) for resorts in the summer months, but the question in relation to the Snowbird coaster seems to be the proposed location.
While I always hear of people backcountry skiing on Mount Superior, which sits across the street from Snowbird, officials state that the proposed Mountain Coaster will not interfere with the areas people ski. “This area will not affect the watershed, it will not affect backcountry skiing and it won’t affect hiking, and that was a big consideration for us”, said Jared Ishkanian, public relations director for Snowbird.
While it may not interfere with those seeking fresh tracks on Superior, the bridge over the highway and the coaster itself would add a visual element that could detract from the overall beauty of the area. “There will definitely be visual impacts to that from throughout the canyon,” Carl Fisher said, executive director of Save Our Canyons. One idea to address this is to make the coaster look like part of the canyon’s mining history.
Although the proposed roller coaster would be built entirely on private land, I can see how locals might get a little testy about it infringing on one of their local backcountry zones and I could see it being much better recieved it were to be built entirely on the south side of the road, where the rest of the Snowbird Resort facilities are located. Mount Superior is one of the most photographed peaks in the area and to tarnish it with the construction of an amusement park seems a bit lame if you ask me.
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