by Danny Miller
It was about a year ago that mysterious markings started popping up in the Comet Hollow section of Hersheypark during the 2011 season. As is true with most events of this sort, immediately coaster fans started discussions about the possibility of Hershey adding their next coaster. With the limited space however, many wondered how the park could shoehorn another major attraction within its fences.
Cue the “leak” of the layout for the ride, which featured a lift hill of 200 feet, and a “figure-eight” type layout more or less that immediately had people comparing the ride to a miniature version of Intimidator 305. By all accounts, it seemed as if it would most certainly be an Intamin ride with the style of track and supports displayed in the layout.
As information started to get out, it was fairly well known that by the time of the August announcement, the name, Skyrush, and the manufacturer, Intamin, had already been figured out. That however, didn’t stop the park from shocking us all, including myself, who watched the announcement live on my phone during my lunch break at work. The news that Intamin would be unveiling all new “winged” coaster trains came as a surprise to most, if not all.
As construction began, horrible storms through the region caused flooding numerous times that saw construction halted. Not to be deterred, Hershey trudged on, and by the time my November and December breaks from college came along, there was significant progress to check out as I made my way to numerous Hershey Bears hockey games. Before we knew it, the lift was topped off and track was being installed lightning fast thanks to relatively cooperative weather aside from a few of the aforementioned storms.
I must say that when I first took a look at the layout, I was both excited, and yet a bit disappointed. The track falls short of 4,000 feet long, which is typically the bare minimum of a coaster of this type, and it seemed like perhaps the park just didn’t have enough room to do everything they wanted to do or could have done.
That was in August. Here we are in April now, and with the park opened for “Hersheypark In The Spring” for a few weekends, many people have already made their way to the park to snap photos from inside the park, including our own Tori Finlay. Now that construction has come along and is nearly complete, this may be the ride of 2012 that I am most excited for. From the far right seat (facing forward), the first drop comes mere inches from the ground, or so it seems. It has become evident that the second hill that follows the main drop is less than half of the height of the 85 degree first drop. Can you say “airtime?” Some may argue that the hill is too stretched out, but when you hit a top speed of over 75 MPH, I think that a hill less than half the height of the drop does warrant a bit of length. Can you say “prolonged airtime?”
The third hill passes under the second, which we can only assume will have more airtime, before entering an element many of us overlooked, a Stengel Dive. From the looks of it, this part of the ride should be an extremely fun element that will nicely break up the airtime laden first half and the finale that will most certainly pack more of that excellent floating action.
Although it is still at least a month or so until we get to ride, this ride has already impressed me in terms of what we should be expecting. Hersheypark has always set the bar high when they add new rides, and Skyrush will be no exception. If it were a typical Intamin hyper coaster, it would have high expectations, but the fact that it is Intamin’s new attempt at a “winged” coaster makes it that much more exciting. There is no doubt that Hershey is expected to have a hit on its hands, and perhaps we will start to see Intamin join B&M in a race to start building “winged” coasters, but the short length of the ride still has me just a bit worried about what coaster fans may think. Regardless, I cannot wait to get to Hershey as soon as it opens and see just how good this ride will be.