By Alicia Yeager

The Mountain Coaster, located at Holiday Valley near Tannenbaum Lodge, is a ride that’s really a once- in-a-lifetime thrill. The 4,805-foot coaster ride lasts about 6 minutes, includes 1,865 feet of uphill track, which automatically takes you to the top of the ride, and a downhill track grade of 2,940 feet. The “car” that you ride in zips you down the spiraling mountain path at a fun and speedy pace that will have you laughing and screaming all the way.

The thrilling ride through the woods allows riders to see beautiful sites, be among the trees, and have amusement park fun all year long — even in the wonderful winter months! The park, which opened up again for winter season on Dec. 20, is open 2-8 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 1-8 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Tickets for the coaster can be purchased at any ticket window or lodging company. And then you’re on your way to a fun and uplifting time.

Tickets are only $8 a ride or $42 for the entire day. However, if you go out for a day of group fun, tickets are only $7 each if your group consists of 15 people or more. And, if purchased along with a lift ticket, the mountain coaster only costs $6 a ride or $20 for the whole day — a great deal for any skier or snowboarder looking to have even more excitement throughout their day at Holiday Valley.

The Mountain Coaster is a wonderful activity for families or for groups of friends because it is a very high energy and fulfilling ride that anyone could enjoy. Even I am nervous about riding other roller coasters, but the Mountain Coaster is one I really love. I’ve ridden the ride with friends, with children I worked with at a summer camp, and with my grandmother — yes, even my grandmother! It’s really a wonderful activity for everyone. You only have to be 3 years old and 36 inches to ride with an adult, and at only 8 years old and 42 inches, you can ride alone!

All of my experiences on the Mountain Coaster have been great. The ride has seat belts and sturdy seats, and makes you feel very safe while you are riding. The coaster makes even “scaredy-cats” like me look like adventurous daredevils. The ride automatically takes you up to the top of the coaster, which is especially great in the winter when the cold makes you sluggish. The staff is also very kind, and they make you feel welcome and really inform you before you take off on your mountain adventure.

The ride itself is some of the most fun you will ever have. You feel almost as if you are flying through the trees on a loose train car! The track is full of twists and turns and tons of curves. The person who sits in the back of the car also gets to control the break, which not only makes you feel secure, but also gives you the freedom to decide just how fast you’d like to go.

Personally, I say “go as fast as possible,” because it really makes and zigzagging ride that much more daring. Even my grandmother loved the fast paced, spiraled action. She was cackling all the way down the hill.

I can’t wait to go back to Holiday Valley and ride the Mountain Coaster again. I’ve ridden it in both the summer and the winter, and both times were equally special. I would recommend the Mountain Coaster to anyone and everyone — and don’t forget to bring your friends!