One of Vancouver’s newest attractions, the Cypress Eagle Coaster is a summertime gravity-powered ride running down the North Shore’s Cypress Mountain.
In this article you’ll find the following information about the following places:
The Coaster Ride at Cypress Mountain
Operating since the summer of 2021, the Eagle Coaster is Vancouver’s newest family-friendly adventure. The ride runs in the warmer months of the year at the Cypress ski resort in West Vancouver.
Construction began on the Eagle Coaster in 2020. The attraction opened to the public in July of 2021. It will likely start up for the season earlier than that in 2022, although exact details are to be confirmed.
In this article we describe the attraction and provide information about prices and what to expect. We also include a list of tips and things to keep in mind.
How Much Does the Eagle Coaster Cost?
In 2021 it cost $29 for people ages 8 and older to have one ride or $39 for two rides. For children ages 3 to 7 it cost $12 for one trip (when accompanied by a paying adult on the same cart) or $19 for two. Taxes were extra. 2022 details should be comparable, although as of mid-April exact details are still to be confirmed.
About the Coaster
On the Eagle Coaster, riders sit in a cart with a handbrake to control their descent. There is only one track, so riders must go down the mountain one at a time. The track also runs close to the ground so riders get a great view of the surrounding area.
Each cart can comfortably seat one adult (or one adult and one smaller child). The carts have backrests and seatbelts for safety. To brake, pull the handbrake back towards your body. To accelerate, push the handbrake forwards.
The Coaster depends entirely on gravity to power the ride. There are no mechanical moving parts at all (except at the very bottom and with the chairlift ride up). Because of this, the ride has a lower environmental impact than it would otherwise.
In total, the Eagle Coaster is about 1.7 kilometres long with 900 feet (279 metres) of vertical drop. Riders on the Coaster can reach speeds of up to 40 km/h. The track begins at the top of the Eagle Express Quad Chair and runs down the side of Black Mountain.
The ride is suitable for folk of all ages. Younger children are permitted to ride on the lap of an accompanying adult.
Designed by the Austrian company Sunkid, there are over four dozen coasters just like this one all over the world. Other countries that have similarly-designed attractions include Romania, Germany, France, Austria, the Czech Republic and the Philippines. There is also a coaster at Revelstoke Mountain Resort in BC.
What to Expect When You Go
Below we describe what you can expect from your Eagle Coaster adventure. From start to finish, it’s an exceptional experience.
Getting to the Coaster
It’s a nice drive up to Cypress Mountain Resort (and an awesome bike ride back down if you take your bicycle)! After you arrive and park your car you make your way to the ticket centre. If you follow the signs you’ll find it (outdoors on the far side of the main lodge building).
After buying your tickets, or getting your online tickets validated, you head to the bottom of the Eagle Express Quad Chair. It’s about a 2-minute walk. There you scan your tickets at the gate and then get on one of the chairs. It’s a beautiful ride up.
The Start of the Coaster
At the top you get off the chair and make your way to the lineup to get on the ride. When we went there was no line up at the bottom of the chair, but there was a line up at the top. A person sets off approximately once every minute. On our first trip there were about 20 people in the line in front of us, so it took about 20 minutes. On our second trip up the wait was just 15 minutes.
When it’s your turn, you go onto a small platform and then climb into your cart. It’s a small blue contraption with a seat, back rest, space for your legs and a control stick near your knees. The cart has wheels and is clipped onto the track. There is no chance of the cart falling off. It’s very secure.
After fastening your seatbelt an attendant explains the rules and how the controls work. You have to keep your hands inside the cart, don’t stop until the very end, and keep one hand on the control handle at all times. You push down on the bar to go faster and pull back to slow down. If you let go of the handle you’ll come to a stop (which you aren’t supposed to do).
About a minute after the person before you has left the platform, it’s your turn. When the light is green and the attendant says you can go, you push down on the control bar and begin your descent.
The Ride Down
The coaster starts slowly and gradually picks up speed. If you hold the accelerator down the entire time you can get up to speeds of about 40 km an hour (or 25 miles per hour). The trip down is a lot of fun! Kids absolutely love it, and adults have fun too!
There are long straight stretches along the track as well as curves, banks, drops and twists. There is also one spot where it drops multiple times in a row, kind of like a real roller coaster. As you descend you get tossed from side to side a tiny bit, depending on your speed, much like you do on an amusement park ride.
The track goes along open terrain in some sections and through the forest and close to trees in others. For most of the way you are following the same trails as you can ski in winter, but without the snow.
Between about 3 and 5 minutes after takeoff you find yourself at the bottom with a smile on your face! It’s a lot of fun and you’ll be glad you paid for two rides so you can do it again (or else you’ll wish you had).
Eagle Coaster Video
To give you a really good idea of what to expect when you ride the Eagle Coaster, check out the following video. As you’ll see, it goes pretty fast. And the views all the way down are amazing too!
It’s like riding your own individual miniature roller coaster (although it’s actually longer than a real one).
Other Things to Know
Below are a number of important things to know about the Eagle Coaster ride.
- You have to be at least 4 feet and 1 inch tall (or 122.5 cm) to ride on your own.
- Children between the ages of 3 and 7 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.
- The minimum height requirement is 3 feet and 2 inches (or 96 cm tall). If you are shorter than that you can’t go on the ride (even with another person).
- The maximum weight of passengers per cart is 260 pounds (or 118 kilograms).
- The ride isn’t recommended for people with pre-existing neck or back injuries or women who are pregnant.
- There are no washrooms at the top of the chairlift, so go to the restroom at the bottom before you start.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions and other important things to know.
What to Take and What Not to Lose
TIP #1: The scenery at the top is amazing, especially on sunny days with clear skies. Don’t forget to take some photos!
TIP #2: Be careful not to drop anything from the chairlift on your way up the hill. It’s a long ways down! Make sure you have deep pockets in your pants and hold onto your phone or camera tight!
TIP #3: Once you get off the chairlift at the top of the mountain you get in a line for the ride. You usually have to wait about 10 minutes for your turn, but on the busiest days it can be up to 45 minutes. There isn’t much shade at the top of the mountain, so if it’s a sunny day be sure to wear sunscreen, and maybe a hat.
TIP #4: If you’re wearing a hat, make sure the wind doesn’t blow it off (both on the chairlift up and on the ride back down). While zipping down on the Eagle Coaster, it can be a good idea to sit on your hat as opposed to wearing it.
TIP #5: If you do lose something on your ride down, don’t stop your cart and get off to get it. Make a note in your mind where you dropped it and then let staff know at the bottom. With some luck, they might be able to find it for you.
TIP #6: Leave your bags and large items locked (and out of sight) in your vehicle. The carts are small and there isn’t room for extra things.
While Racing Down the Track
TIP #7: Some people go full speed the whole way down. Other riders are more cautious. If you plan to go fast, ask the people in front of you if they plan to go fast as well. If they are little kids, or more timid folk, chances are you might actually catch up to them. As a result, if you think the person before you might be slow, don’t be in a rush to go as soon as you can behind them. Wait a few extra seconds.
TIP #8: If you are a larger person, either in weight or height, you’ll likely get bounced around more, and harder, than a typical person. As a result, you might want to slow down more than average on the sharper, steeper corners.
TIP #9: It only costs $10 more to ride twice compared to going down just a single time. The second ride is worth the extra bucks for a couple of reasons. One, it’s a long drive up to Cypress. You might as well double your fun while you’re there. Two, the second ride is usually more fun because you know what to expect and will likely be confident enough to go faster (and know in advance where you might want to slow down).
TIP #10: If you have a bike rack, or room in your vehicle, take your bicycles up the hill when you go. That way, after the coaster ride, you (or everyone but the driver) can extend your fun by riding your bicycles down Cypress Bowl Road. It’s downhill all the way and so much fun! Ride carefully though and be sure you have good brakes!
About Cypress Mountain Resort
Found on Vancouver’s North Shore, Cypress Mountain is a year-round destination. The place was one of the sites for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Cypress Bowl area is made up of three mountains: Black Mountain, Hollyburn Mountain and Mount Strachan. The Eagle Coaster runs down the side of Black Mountain, the westernmost mountain.
Cypress Resort is most well-known for its abundance of winter activities. During the winter months the mountain is home to many snow sports including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tubing.
Summer activities at Cypress Mountain Provincial Park include hiking and nature viewing. There are also opportunities for backcountry hiking and camping along the Howe Sound Crest Trail.
For more details about the ride click Cypress Eagle Coaster.
Other articles that may be of interest include the following:
- Snowshoeing at Cypress
- Cypress Mountain Ski Pass Specials
- Lower Mainland Ski Hills
- Outdoor Recreation in Vancouver
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking Trails
- Best Parks and Nature
- Summer Activities
- Vancouver Activities for Children