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North America’s longest mountain coaster opens in Lake Placid

by Susan and Simon Veness

Experience the thrill of Olympic bobsledding on ADG Mountainside’s new Cliffside Coaster, now open in the former U.S. Olympic venue in Lake Placid, N.Y.

mountain coaster

Speed geeks now have a new way to get their Alpine thrill on, as the latest and greatest “mountain coaster” turns Mt. Van Hoevenberg’s Olympic Sports Complex into a year-round destination.

The United States hosted the Winter Olympics in both 1932 and 1980, each centered around the picturesque village of Lake Placid in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains. When the 1980 Winter games athletes and organizers departed, they left behind the infrastructure from various events, including the bobsled track that winds down Mt. Van Hoevenberg.

ADG Mountainside, makers of mountain coasters, Alpine slides, and mountain waterparks, put that track firmly in the spotlight again, unveiling their newest coaster on Oct. 11.

mountain coaster

At 7,000 feet long, the Cliffside Coaster holds the title of the longest mountain coaster in North America, with a rolling, dipping, and zig-zagging stainless steel track that runs alongside the former bobsledding track, with two-rider cars that can reach speeds up to 25 miles per hour.  But possibly the most unique feature is its timed audio system, with Olympic-inspired commentary, which gives riders an authentic feel for what it was like to be an bobsledder during the 1980 Winter games.

Elise Ruocco, digital communications manager at the Olympic Regional Development Authority, says, “When you’re going up, it has audio playing in the mountain coaster, which is the first of its kind for any of the new mountain coasters. The soundtrack is narrated by John Morgan, whose voice you will recognize from the popular movie ‘Cool Runnings.’”

Track engineers at ADG designed the course with twists and turns to mimic the historic bobsled track, with a few thrilling 360-degree high G-force turns thrown in for good measure. Safety equipment onboard includes seat belts, speed restrictors, brake lights, and distance alarms.

ORDA president & CEO Mike Pratt says, “The coaster follows the alignment of the 1932 and 1980 Olympic Bobsed track as it descends the mountain. The views are amazing, and the curves get your heart pounding!”

Although the two-seat carts can reach the aforementioned 25 miles per hour, riders are able to control their speed as they travel down the mountain. Want a scenic ride? Engage the cart’s unique braking system for a slower descent. Want to feel the wind whip through your hair? Climb in and get ready to fly!

mountain coaster

New York State’s Governor Andrew Cuomo says of this new attraction, “The Cliffside Coaster is one of our latest and most thrilling additions to the Olympic Regional Development Authority venues, and part of our ongoing effort to modernize the entire Mt. Van Hoevenberg complex. This revitalization is transforming the complex into a year-round provider of excitement and entertainment for both athletes and families, which will attract more summer visitors and provide a critical boost to local businesses as we work to build back better.”

The Cliffside Coaster is currently open on Saturday and Sunday only, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., and tickets must be purchased in advance on MountVanHoevenberg.com. Riders must be at least 9 years old and 52 inches tall; passengers can be between the ages of 3-12 and 36 inches tall (no passengers over age 12); and the maximum weight is 300 pounds per car. COVID-19 precautions are in place for the safety of all riders.

For further information, visit ADGMountainsides.com.

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