SNOWBIRD — The instructions are simple: push the handle forward to go, pull back lightly to slow and give forth with a Herculean tug to stop.
There wasn't too much tugging, but there was a whole lot of pushing going on Saturday as people introduced themselves for the first time to the new alpine slide at the canyon resort. The objective, after all, is to go as fast as nerves and good sense will allow.
In this case, said Dave Fields, public relations director at the resort, experience seemed to sedate the nerves a little.
"The first ride is a test run, to get used to the track and sled. Once you get the hang of it you want to open it up a little," he said.
It is the second such slide in Utah. Park City has been offering summer rides for nearly two decades. Over the years there has been rumors of a second slide, but it took until now to get a second set of tracks down a mountainside.
Solitude petitioned the U.S. Forest Service for permission to build a slide, but the request was denied early last year.
Fields said work on Snowbird's dual tracks began in June.
"It took two months to build and cost about $450,000," he said. "We were able to go forth with the project because the slide is built on private land. Originally, we had hoped to build the slide on runs on the Peruvian side or to the south of the resort, but decided on this area because it was more accessible to the other activities that are available."
The track was built on the resort's instructional slope, which is located between the main tram building and the Cliff Lodge, and is easily accessible from the resort.
It is 1,300 feet long, includes nine turns and involves the use of a sit-on-top sled with wheels and a handle in the center that controls the speed.
Cost of a single ride is $7, a two-ride pass is $12 and a five-ride pass, which is transferable, is $25.
A $20 ticket includes a ride on the alpine slide, a ride on the tram and a session on the bungee trampoline.
Riders six and older can ride the sled alone, but those between the age of two and six must ride with an adult. Children under two are not allowed on the track.
The opening of the slide coincides with the start of Snowbird's Octoberfest, which will run on weekends through Oct. 5. More than 50,000 are expected to visit the resort during the celebration.