Specific Type: Wooden Hybrid, Out and Back
Imagine a vacation where you feel like a god. Then imagine while visiting Mt. Olympus that the ruler of the underworld decides to make an appearance and try to take you back with him. That is the exact experience that guests to Mt. Olympus Theme Park in Wisconsin Dells experienced during the summer of 2005. The park debuted a ride so terrifying and so intense that the name of a god would not do the ride honors.
Mt. Olympus Theme Park, originally known as Big Chief’s Carts and Coasters, already boasted an impressive collection of roller coaster from Custom Coaster International such as Zeus 1997, Pegasus 1996, and Cyclops 1995. Upon the decision to expand into a first class resort they wanted something to make the change a memorable one for everyone, not just the locals. They went in search of something big, something that would make everyone scream time after time and never lose its fear factor. They wanted the most terrifying wooden coaster ever created, but their business partner, CCI had closed its door a number of years before so they were out of the question.
Would they choose Great Coasters International or maybe S&S’s new wooden coaster division? The answer to that was a big no. They choose a new company that was just appearing in the coaster industry. A new company by status, but the members of the company had been in the business for years and had played key roles in the design of the park’s other three coasters. Of course I am talking about the Gravity Group. The company’s use of steel structures with limited maintenance made the decision even more logical. After the deal was made, the designers put their minds to the grind stone turning out idea after idea for the new ride. What the final blueprint looked like was nothing like what the park was expecting and that was a very good thing.
Hades, as the ride became known, boasted a 140-foot first drop at a staggering 65-degree angle. Some may say that those stats make the coaster a masterpiece in its own, but Gravity Group wasn’t done yet. The coaster would become the longest wooden coaster to travel underground. However that title was short live because Holiday World’s new woodie, Voyage stole the record away in 2006. Voyage also stole the title of most airtime on a wooden coaster away from Hades as well. The records may be gone, but this giant still pack a punch that most coaster fans would see as unrivaled by any other ride.
Brave thrill seekers venture towards the entrance of Hades with the false sense of a safe ride ahead. Little do they know that they are about to be hurled into the darkness of the underworld while on their outing at the amusement park. They happily load into the Philadelphia Toboggan coaches and secure their lap bar. Once everything is clear they begin there journey to the point of no return. The train leaves the station and rounds a gentle turn adding even more to the sense of safety on this ride. Then the ride picks up a little more speed as it rounds a 180-degree turn towards the lift hill. Up and up the coaches are carried towards the heavens. The point of no return has been reached as the trains crest the 136-foot first hill. Once at the top riders realize they are in for more than they bargained, but it’s too late. The train plunges straight down the 146-foot drop at a staggering 65-degree angle. Faster and faster the train plunges towards the ground and then darkness. Dazed from the darkness riders are not even aware that they are hurdling at full speed underneath Mt. Olympus’s parking lot. As darkness consumes riders, the train makes the first ever 90-degree turn underground and bursts back into the light. Riders scream in terror as the train soars skyward again to the top of a gigantic over-banked turn and then plunges back towards the ground. A large airtime hill life riders out of their seats and then throws them back to the depths of the underworld. A sense of déjà vu sets in as they scream back under the parking lot. The trains once again see the light of day as they fly back above ground. The trains crest yet another hill and plunge downward towards a 180-degree turn. After navigating the turn a straight stretch of track passes in a matter of seconds. The coaches traverse through the structure and past Zeus. A final sweeping turn leads the train back into the station. The holding brakes kick on and the train is brought to a stop. Terrified riders are overcome with a sense of joy at this point and are allowed to exit their brush with the underworld. Now one questions remains, are they brave enough to try it again?
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