The ML Interview: Alvin Weatherall – Ridge Runner

So what’s the deal, you ask, with all the construction going on just above the Village at Blue Mountain? That was our question too. So we hit up the guy behind the project and checked what’s going on. Turns out, this is the Ridge Runner: a mountain coaster. The first attraction of a multi-year summer attractions master plan. Media is getting some rides on it today, so footage will definitely start appearing and it is apparently open to the public tomorrow. Alvin Weatherall is the VP of Mountain Operations & Risk Management and had this to say about the Ridge Runner.

Mountain Life: Why are you guys building this?
Alvin Weatherall: Ridge Runner is the first addition of our future summer attractions plan, which aims to improve summer activities offered by the resort. The mountain coaster will be followed by a mini-golf area, a ropes course, and a zip line. The goal is to enhance seasonal experiences at Blue Mountain year-round.
ML: How is it different than the Slide Ride from years ago?
AW: This coaster cart cannot come off the track and the track component is self-ascending so we don’t have to run a lift in addition to the coaster. The rider literally sits in the cart and rides up the hill before turning around at the top to descend downhill. It is momentum-based and the track is elevated from the ground. The original Slide Ride was built into the ground and was a downhill ride only.
ML: How many months of the year will it operate?
AW: 12 months, weather and conditions permitting of course.
ML: How long is the ride?
AW: Including the uphill track, about one-and-a-half kilometres.
ML: How much will it cost to ride?
AW: Prices start at $15 for a single ride. Multiple ride passes will also be offered.
ML: What’s happening to the MTB trail Showcase and the Lower Glades ski area?
AW: These trails will be reallocated to other areas of terrain on the hill. We have continued with the Glades hiking trail, so hikers in the area can look forward to ongoing access to the trail, which seems to be a favourite.
ML: Where else are these coasters operating?
AW: There are over 200 installations worldwide, mostly in Europe. Our coaster will be the second installation in Canada. The first was in Saint-Sauveur, Quebec.
ML: Anything else to add?
AW: Some of our staff have ridden the ride during the testing and it is a lot of fun. We can’t wait to see the look on our customer’s faces when we finally open to the public.

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