Lienz, Austria: Racing Through the Austrian Dolomites on the Osttirodler Alpine Coaster by Sheri B Doyle
While visiting Lienz, Austria, I wanted to ride one of the longest alpine coasters in the world. The Osttirodler Alpine Coaster winds its way through the hills and forest of the ski resort for 2.7 km (1.7 miles).
At the platform, I sat in the car and let the childlike excitement take over. Unlike American coasters, no automatic seat belts or bars were released before I took off. In fact, I was still trying to figure out how to buckle up and work the brakes as the Austrian man at the controls hit the release. The car started out slowly, so he was able to instruct me before I left the starting point, clicking along the steel railing and flying through the grassy hill.
At first I pulled too hard on the two handbrakes at my side, not sure how fast I was comfortable going. Soon I let go of any trepidation and let it fly. I was amazed at how easy it was as I took the curves through the gorgeous Austrian woods. Racing down the winding track, the romantic scenery of the Bruck Castle and quaint city of Lienz popped into view. The majestic Austrian mountains provided a constant backdrop to the thrilling ride.
As the tracks of the Osttirodler lead close to the bottom of the hill, a series of curves, like a funnel, provided the ultimate challenge to my coaster driving. By this point I had become comfortable with the speed and took each curve as fast as I could. What a thrilling way to end my coaster adventure.
Photo: The city of Lienz, Austria
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