Kosciuszko National Park could soon be home to another, year-round thrill as plans are lodged for an alpine roller coaster at Thredbo.
The resort has lodged a development application (DA) to put up a rail-guided toboggan which, if approved, will run year-round.
The proposed Alpine Coaster is a toboggan fixed to the track which can take up to two riders at a time.
Riders are in control and able to use the manual brake to control the speed on the descent.
The ride’s maximum speed is 40 kilometres per hour.
As the resort is proposing a mostly self-supporting track, it can be adapted to the existing terrain.
Ultimately, it will take in around 740 square metres of the resort.
Some snow-making equipment will need to be moved and new snow-making pipe will need to be installed in order to make the coaster possible.
If it goes ahead, the coaster will replace the resort’s bobsled attraction which is only able to operate in the non-winter months when the weather allows.
That ride is also in “need of considerable upgrades”, the resort said.
DA documents lodged with the State Government planning authority say the proposal fits in with the NSW Government’s master plan for the area which calls for year-round use of the facility.
Construction activities are proposed to commence as early as this summer and the coaster could be operational by 2024 if approved.
The resort’s general manager Stuart Diver made the following statement:
“Thredbo Resort is committed to providing our guests with a great alpine experience and year-round attractions such as the Alpine Coaster, which will add to the great mix of products and experiences that Thredbo and the Snowy Mountains region offers.”
But that’s not to say everyone is pleased.
Thredbo Village accommodation provider Kasees Apartments and Mountain Lodge said in its submission the “unsightly” and “obtrusive” coaster would contribute to the decline in the natural landscape of the area and would increase noise and congestion around the main village.
Assistant manager Annalisa Koeman said the lodge had already heard concerns from guests about noise and dust associated with mountain biking as that became increasingly popular.
“Walkers and those coming to enjoy the mountains for more passive, low-key and environmentally-friendly activity (valley and mountain walks, the view, clean air, the riverside, peace and quiet, appreciating flora, wildlife) are going to be negatively impacted,” she said.
“The coaster adds to the already negatively impacted view of the mountain, the result of extensive mountain bike trails, training tracks and associated structures.
“The proposal does not appear to address the impact on birdlife and other native fauna of noise and vibration from the operation of the coaster.”
A second environmental activist based in Wahroonga NSW had seconded these concerns.
The Alpine Coaster is only one of Thredbo’s proposals to redevelop the existing resort in the coming years.
It’s also lodged plans for a new mountain-top restaurant and more mountain biking trails.
New sections of biking trails opened in the national park earlier this month.
It’s part of the Government’s plans to increase visitorship to the park in summer.