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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Cliffside Coaster - Mt Van Hoevenberg- Lake Placid NY

I don't usually go crazy for rides. I'm the kind of person that stays off roller coasters and stays out of busy amusement parks in general. When do I make an exception? When I have the chance to ride the longest mountain coaster in the United States on a control-your-own-speed coaster through the mountains of the Adirondacks through parts/alignment of the former 1932 and the 1980 Olympic Bobsled course.

This is another one of those "I wasn't expecting to love this experience as much as I did" sort of moments. I thought the $50 per person price tag for one quick ride was a little steep and doubted it would be worth the cost. I am happy to say we had such a fun afternoon at Mt Van Hoevenberg and a ride on the coaster was worth the price tag. 

If you are traveling with a family, this is a perfect activity for the whole family. Each cart can fit one adult and one child (3 to 12 years old), with the additional rider only costing an extra $10. You have to be 9 years old to drive your own sled or 18 years old to drive with a child passenger (again, being between 3-12 years old). The total weight limit for the coaster is 300 lbs per sled. 

Each sled has two hand brakes that can control the speed of the sled. You can go as fast or as slow as your want as you make your way through the route. If you are planning on going slow, please tell the attendant so they can give you a little extra room from the riders behind you. You have to maintain a certain distance between each sled (depending on the weather conditions) and the carts will automatically stop and beep if you get too close to the sled in front of you. 

On our initial ride, we were stuck behind an older gentleman who treated the coaster ride as if it was a casual cruise similar to the "It's a Small World" ride. Adam, myself, and one other kid were automatically stopped every minute or so and because of this, we had the chance to take a second (free) ride down the coaster again with no interruptions. 

In the era of COVID, you reserve your tickets ahead of time and show up within your time slot. The lines were quite long when we got there so I highly suggest showing up early. After waiting in line, you are loaded up into your coaster and given a safety briefing, after that, you are on your way and it's a slow ride to the top. While you make your way to the top of the coaster, you can enjoy an educational and interesting recording all about the 1932 and the 1980 bobsled track and Olympics. The commentary continues as you ride the coaster down, letting you know about the average bobsled speeds and the famous sections of the course. 

The commentary definitely made the entire experience that much more fun and interesting. I cruised down the course, full speed ahead, laughing as we whipped around tight spiraling corners and small dips in the course. I was impressed at just how fast these sleds can go and it was a fun and beautiful ride spiraling back down to the starting area. I would definitely do it again and would love to experience the mountain coaster in the fall, with a chance to enjoy Mt. Van Hoevenberg showing off its foliage. After your ride, you can walk around the complex, rent a mountain bike, go out for a hike, or even sign up for a bobsled ride. 

R a t e s 

Driver: Ages 9+ (riding alone) 18+ (if riding with a child passenger)  $55
Child Passenger: Ages 3-12 $10

B o o k i n g 

Online reservations are highly recommended, as this activity does sell out. Cliffside Coaster tickets are date- and time-specific with limited capacity per time slot. You can view real-time availability for all dates and time slots in our online store. 

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