Leap the Dips
Specific Type: Wooden, Junior, Side-Friction, Double-Figure Eight
In the year of 1902, in the town of Altoona, Pennsylvania, a wooden coaster named Leap the Dips opened to visitors of a park called Lakemont. Leap-the-Dips was a ride of the latest in coaster technology, with individual cars rolling along side-friction track to complete a 1,452-foot-long double figure eight-like track formation, the lift hill topping out at 41 feet above ground level and cars acheiving 12 miles per hour during the course. Though not a record-breaker for its time, no one would have expected that over 100 years later, Leap the Dips would have weathered the good times and bad and beaten all odds to survive and become the world's single oldest operating roller coaster.
But the ride did just that and re-emerged to the coaster scene after sitting dormant for thirteen years on May 31st, 1999 and was re-received at Lakemont Park with flying colors once again. Although in the mid-1990s Leap-the-Dips was a sad and seemingly hopeless sight, restoration and preservation took place and the coaster was restructured, re-tracked, given a fresh coat of white paint and fully restored to its former glory. The surroundings of the coaster have changed much since that opening day back in 1902 and Lakemont Park today boasts an assortment of other coasters, rides, and attractions, but the ride that came first is still the pride of the park.
Once a maximum of four riders are loaded into the car, the ride on Leap the Dips starts out of the station and moves to engage on the chain lift. At the summit, the coaster passes under a small wooden pavillion. Dipping down, the ride leads around the first 225-degree turnaround of the multi-figure eight track formation. Curving around a growth of trees, the track completes the first turnaround and follows a breif straightaway to a second dip and climb back up. Rolling over another straightaway, the layout enters the second turnaround section, curving once again 225 degrees this time to the right. Leap the Dips begins another dip, deeper than the first two, and then climbs again to leap passengers under the track of the first turn. The green side-rails lead the car around to the left directly below the first half of the figure eight formation, leaping another dip. The course is retraced with another turnaround, then the car descends the ride's deepest drop at 9 feet. Around the fifth and final turnaround, the coaster gets set for a finale of two more rapid-fire dips and a climb into the braking section.
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