Whitefish, MT, Sept. 27--Big Mountain in Whitefish, MT has added another way to make your heart pump down a slope called thrill sledding. The sleds have become a popular attraction this summer/fall on a 3,000-foot course dropping 500 vertical feet through glades, around banked turns, and ending at the base of Chair 3 in the village area.
The summer/fall version of the Thrill Sled resembles a high tech Flexible Flyer on steroids. Riders lay belly-down on a padded platform built into the sled's fiberglass body. Bicycle-like handlebars provide the steering mechanism, while independent suspension and hydraulic hand brakes make for easy piloting and speed control.
After donning a helmet and a brief orientation, an experienced instructor guides novices down the course, but the learning curve is virtually instant. After a few trips down the course, which winds back and forth across a green-rated ski run, riders tend to get into the spirit of the moment and attack the slanted curves like Formula One auto racers.
Thrill Sled rides cost $9 per run or three runs for $24. Hours of operation are noon to 6 P.M., seven days a week until Oct. 3. The operation starts up again with the ski season around Nov. 23 when the wheels on the sleds will be replaced by four small skis, and the course moves to a special winter area. Riders must be over eleven years old and sign an injury release form.