Specific Type: Steel, Boomerang, Shuttle
As a new decade turned over and Hersheypark advanced into the 1990s, the park wanted to continue its trend of expansion that it started in the 80s, but make it bigger and better. The first order of business was the creation of Minetown, where the old penny arcade was replaced by the Mintown Arcade, Restaurant, and games building. The park also replaced the Coal Shaker with three kiddie rides, and replaced theHimalaya ride with the Flying Falcon tower ride. Soon after, the park finally decided to take things up another notch with the addition of roller coasters, with four coming to the park over that decade. The first, Sidewinder, would be the parks first roller coaster addition in fourteen years, since the single-looping Schwarzkopf SooperDooperLooper debuted in 1977.
Located in what is now known as the Pioneer Frontier section of the park, on the location of a former catering area for the park, the ride sits just across from the entrance of Storm Runner and the bulk of Trailblazer’s course. Sidewinder is a standard Vekoma Boomerang coaster, but this particular boomerang had one unique feature about it upon its opening; Sidewinder was the first of the Vekoma Boomerang coasters to utilize Vekoma trains instead of Arrow trains. The trains here sported a unique burgundy color, with lighter yellow stripes down the side and across the front, a nice complement to the dark brown/black track and white supports. For the 2010 season, the coaster would recieve an upgrade in its Vekoma rolling stock, getting a set of the company's newly re-designed looping trains. These trains, first seen on Carolina Cobra at Carowinds, feature a vest-like restraint which is more open, more comfortable, and eliminates the extreme head-banging boomerangs have been known for.During the Hersheypark in the Dark Halloween event, the ride is decorated and turned into the Scarewinder.
Almost hidden by the dense frontier foliage in the area, passengers board the ride in a log-cabin style station. The ride itself, like any other boomerang coaster, starts with a slow pull backwards up a 116.5 foot lift hill. Once the train is released, it plummets back down through the station, before pulling up into a tight, fast Cobra Roll, pulling as many as 5 G’s before rocketing into a vertical loop and up the reversing spike. As the train ascends the second spike, the lift engages, pulling it to the top before the releasing the train through its course again, only this time in reverse. Now the trains careen backwards first through the vertical loop, then through the cobra roll, putting some intense forces on unprepared riders. The train then flies backwards through the station, braking along the way, and rolls partially up the original spike again before being slowed as it falls back into the station. Like most other older boomerangs, the ride can be quite rough at times, and head-banging is nearly inevitable, but also like any boomerang, the experience on this twisting serpent is a short, but intense journey.
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