Behind the Scenes of the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster
After a visit to Carowinds during Peanuts Celebration, we had the opportunity to stop by Banner Elk, North Carolina to check out the progress on the new Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster that is nearing completion. Owners, Eric and Tara Bechard, were more than generous with showing us around the construction site and giving us the low-down on everything it has taken to get the project to its current point.
If you’re not familiar with alpine coasters, read out interview with Wiegand, the company that designed and manufactured Wilderness Run.
You really don’t realize how much goes into designing and building an Alpine coaster because we see them popping up everywhere now, but the process is highly involved and construction on a densely wooded hillside is quite difficult. The idea to build this coaster came nearly three years ago for the Bechards and just now have they seen the track been completed after about a year of construction.
From early on, Eric and Tara knew they wanted to be involved in getting this coaster on its feet (or wheels?). They are tremendously hard workers and have put all of their energy into helping to clear land, constructing the ride, and building the station.
It was very inspiring to see the work ethic of the owners; it would be very easy to just have others do the dirty work, but they are out there moving this ride along. Eric told us about how they would chainsaw trees down, move boulders, level areas for supports, and countless other preparations. It really is a labor of love for them and it shows.
After two years of careful planning and getting the land ready, track began to be installed in May. It then only took crews four months to complete the layout. The coaster looks incredible! For even more pictures check out this album on Facebook.
Eric took us up the 600 foot long, 200 foot tall lift hill and showed us the entire layout, including the engine and electrical housing cabin at the top. One of the most interesting things we learned was that the entirety of the track going up the lift is actually roughened to help the car wheels not to slip on the journey up.
The Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster is located a scenic two-hour drive from Carowinds as well as a few hour drive from Pigeon Forge.
The Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster may not be the tallest or longest, but it may turn out to be one of the most enjoyable coasters of this type. There are some great tight turns, sudden drops, and close encounters with the forest. It was important to the owners to keep all of the trees and rock they could, which has made for some very neat natural theming to the ride. We can’t wait to ride!
Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster Sneak Peak Video
Take a tour of the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster by watching our video below where we walk around the construction site, including climbing the lift hill and the shed where the cars are stored.
Special thanks to Eric and Tara for showing us around the site and sharing their passion for the project with us.
What’s your favorite alpine coaster? Do you count alpine coasters as coaster credits? Let us know in the comments below.