BANNER ELK — The anticipated opening of the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster located at 3229 Tynecastle Highway near Sugar Mountain Resort, has been changed to February.

“We have had another slight delay and are not expecting to open ‘til the beginning of February,” said Ashley Brown of Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster. “We currently don’t have our opening date just yet.”

The opening was hoped to be in the first in January, according to Dec. 23 social media posts made by Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster.

The coaster, a first of its kind in North Carolina, is the work of Eric and Tara Bechard, a retired military family, who acquired the 5.83 acres land in January.

Along with the coaster, a three-story alpine center is currently being built and paved parking has been done.

When completed, a two-person cart is designed to traverse the 2,930-foot track, including 2,160 feet of down track, which includes full left and right looping turns, a u-turn and a three-quarter turn. Riders control the speed of the ride through a brake system, but can reach speeds up to 27 mph. The ride starts and ends in the same spot.

Currently, there are less than 25 alpine coasters in the U.S., with many more in Europe, Bechard previously said. Many of the parts for the ride have had to be imported from Austria, Bechard said.

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