With a length of 6,280 linear feet, the longest mountain coaster in North America is officially open year-round at Steamboat Resort in Steamboat Springs, and we got to try it. For only $20 a ticket, this new ride is a cheap way to experience the resort without worrying about gear. Descending more than 400 vertical feet, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster features dips, turns, waves and 360-degree circles that spiral downward towards the base resort below. You can control the “sled” you’re in using brake technology, so the speed is up to you. We decided to ride without slowing down to get the full experience.
Located near the Christie Peak Express lift at the resort, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster is a short walk from the base of the ski area, making it easy to find. Hopping into the small blue sled is a piece of cake, but the simplicity of it all is enough to remind you of those rickety carnival rides that are about to tear apart at any moment and send you barreling down the mountain. After strapping on a seat belt and positioning your legs bent in front of you, you get to test the brakes before you ascend the mountain. Thank God. It’s easy enough — to go, you push forward, and to slow down and stop, you pull the brakes back towards you. After the instructor asked me to give a thumbs-up signal, the coaster ride began, and up I went. For a couple minutes, the sled traveled up the mountain on its own and I got to relax, but I started getting nervous once I saw tiny lodge at the end of the track that I figured was where I would make my descent. The ride was almost a straight shot up, and it was long enough to get my nerves pumping. Although the peaceful scenery of the resort helped a bit.
The Ride Down
Once you’re to the top, the fun begins and your sled makes a slight turn before you feel gravity do its thing. My sled started falling down the mountain, and it went really fast. Similar to a roller coaster, the mountain coaster track dips and circles around and you feel your stomach drop as you climb up and down at top speeds. Overhead, skiers and snowboarders hollered at me from the chairlift, and laughed as I screamed past them. It wasn’t that scary, but it was enough to get my blood pumping. At moments, the sled made some freaky noises that made it seem like I was about to fly off the track, but as I neared the point where I started at below, my sled started to slow down on its own. It didn’t take very long (my timing was under 10 minutes), but after the ride finished, I was already itching to do it again.
Although it’s the longest mountain coaster in North America, it’s really not that crazy of a ride and we’re pretty sure certain kids could do it no sweat. As a nice break from skiing and snowboarding, the Outlaw Mountain Coaster is a unique adventure where you can take in the scenery of the resort without exerting yourself. It’s not death-defying, but one ride gives you a rush of cold air and adrenaline that’s perfect for a day of inexpensive fun on the mountain. Just make sure you dress warm. The weather can get pretty nippy up there, but we’d definitely ride it all day if we could.
To find out more about ticket prices, times and ride requirements, visit Steamboat Resort’s website.