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Roller-coaster a thrill ride

Adventure and excitement were the theme this weekend in Revelstoke, as its brand new mountain coaster was opened to the public.

“Are you ready to ride the coaster?” yelled Revelstoke Mayor Mark McKee to the cheering crowd at the opening ceremony.

“This is a great day for the resort, a great day for Revelstoke. I think the last time we had this much excitement about Revelstoke is when the railway came through!”

The mayor was first down the coaster, breaking through the red tape as he took off.

“It was quite exciting,” said McKee. “It was a little bit scary in parts, but it all depends on how much you are pulling on the brake. I tried to do it as little as possible, it was awesome, it was really awesome.”

McKee said the coaster addition is exciting for the city of Revelstoke as it is making the mountain resort, and the city, a four-season destination.

The Pipe Mountain Coaster is a 1.4-kilometre gravity-powered roller-coaster that takes the rider from the Revelation Lodge to the mountain’s village.

“This is the first single-track coaster of its kind in North America,” said Peter Nielsen, Revelstoke Mountain Resort’s vice-president of operations.

“You are only about three feet off the ground, so it really gives you the sensation of gliding through the woods and through the alpine meadows. You also have self-control over your speed, so there is an element of skill to it, and you can make it as thrilling as you want.”

Following the initial rides by local dignitaries, the line continued to grow as many coaster enthusiasts showed up for opening day.

“We are thrilled with the turnout,” said Nielsen. "It is a great crowd of people. People have been lining up since 7:30 a.m. to try to be the first one down."

“We have seen great enthusiasm about the product throughout our social media reach, we are chasing almost three million views on the videos we have released on it. So we are excited about just how many people are excited about.”

Despite the two-and-a-half hour wait for some, coaster enthusiasts all told Castanet they loved the ride.

One of the groups that lined up at dawn, was the HikingAddiction.ca group from Kelowna. Group founder Josh Hoggan said he knew he had to be the first in line on opening day.

“There were thousands of shares on Facebook and I knew I wanted to be the first guy there,” said Hoggan. “It is a huge novelty for the area.”

He said the ride down the hill was a blast.

“It is incredibly fast,” said Hoggan. “I was bolting down the entire time. You are going down these crazy turns with these dips that you aren't expecting and you get to the bottom so quickly. The only thing that I have done close to this is in Jamaica, so it is so cool to have this close to home.”

The coaster reaches speeds of 42 km/h and gets you from top to bottom in about three minutes, a 279-metre vertical drop.

“It is something that everyone in the family can enjoy. It appeals to a broad demographic, everyone from grandma to a three-year-old can enjoy it,” added Nielsen. “It is not far from Kelowna.”

The new attraction opened on May long weekend and will run all summer, weather pending. One ride for an adult is $19, or $50 for unlimited rides all day.

If you prefer to be a little further than three feet off the ground for your excitement, heli-adventures also await you this summer in Revelstoke.

From heli-hiking to heli-lunches, heli-wedding shoots and heli-moutain bike drops, Selkirk Tangiers Helicopters are keeping the helicopter excitement going even after the snow melts.

“We have expanded into summer activities in the mountains we ski so much in,” said Eriks Suchovs, general manager of Selkirk Tangiers Helicopter Skiing.

“A lot of our activities are heli-assisted, so you get in the helicopter and in just a few minutes it gets you up into the ridge line. You're at the ridge top at 8,000 feet and hiking along the alpine meadows and seeing all the spectacular scenery. It is hiking, mountaineering, picnics and mountain-bike drop offs. We get to share the mountain in winter and summer.”

He adds that it is exciting to be able to take people into remote areas they wouldn't usually be able to get into.

For more information on all the summer activities in Revelstoke, click here.

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