Alpine coasters bring theme park thrills to ski resorts

There are a number of ways for roller coaster fans to get a fix during the long, cold winter months when most of the country’s theme parks are closed. Riding one of the alpine coasters that are popping up at ski resorts has got to be one of the best options. These personal thrill rides give spectacular views of the surrounding areas as they take advantage of the mountainous terrain that they’re built on.

Alpine coasters are similar to traditional roller coasters, but there are a few differences. The ride’s cars have a braking system that guests can use to control their speed which tops out at about 30 mph. Also, unlike roller coasters, alpine coasters can run in any weather. Their courses don’t appear to be too steep as they traverse wide, winding paths down hilly terrain and mountainsides.

Alpine coasters offer breath-taking views and a unique experience. Rides are a bit pricey though and they vary by ski resort. Prices for a single ride start out at around $9 and can cost as much as $20 or more. I’d pay up to $20 for a single ride, but I’m not sure I’d ride it more than once.

German company Wiegand, has built alpine coasters across the globe in Asia, Europe, North America and South America. The seven alpine coasters at U.S. ski resorts are: Breckenridge, Glenwood Springs, Jiminy Peak, Mount Cranmore, Okemo, Park City, and Wisp. Park City Utah’s Alpine Coaster is the largest in North America. Alpine coasters aren’t limited to ski resorts. They’re even popping up in tropical locations. In 2009, Dragon’s Tail opened at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s port in Labadee, Haiti.

[Image 1 credit: Flickr User dubswede]

Colgate Wisp – brilliant little travel companion

If there is one good thing that has come out of the stricter rules for toiletries, it is that manufacturers have been releasing new travel friendly products faster than ever.

My local drug store now has an entire aisle devoted to small travel size products, and they seem to be adding something new every week.

The latest new addition comes from Colgate, and is called “Wisp”.

This single use toothbrush beats all the previous contraptions I’ve ever tried. The Wisp is a plastic toothbrush with a tiny capsule of toothpaste between the bristles.

When you brush, you open the capsule and you’ll be able to use it like any ordinary toothbrush. You don’t need water to activate it, and you don’t need to rinse after brushing.

The product should be on shelves of your own drug store, as well as at most Walmart stores and

A pack of 12 costs $8.50, or 2 packs of 12 for $14. Most local stores will sell packs of 4 for about $3.50. A 50 cent discount coupon can be found on the product site.

It may be much more expensive than a toothbrush and pocket tube of toothpaste, but it can’t hurt to carry a couple of them in your carry-on.