Specific Type: Steel, LIM-Launched, Shuttle
Through the park’s years of ownership by Six Flags, Elitch Gardens hasn’t received to many rides to be proud of. With Six Flags stock prices way down and the current condition of the economy not looking to good, Elitch Gardens was the last place expected to get the only large scale roller coaster in the Six Flags chain. Then to everyone’s surprise Six Flags announced that Elitch Gardens would be receiving the first Intamin Halfpipe in North America for the 2004 season. The Halfpipe idea has only seen one other installation in Särkänniemi Amusement Park in Tampere, Finland. The Halfpipe idea was believed to be conceived from the Vekoma Hammerhead Stall that was planned for 2003, but never opened. Since Elitch Gardens is located in Denver, the ride will be given a snowboarding hype. The Halfpipe combines the thrills of snowboarding with a
completely new roller coaster experience. Halfpipe stands at 100-feet tall and sends sixteen riders speeding along 230-feet of steel track. The Halfpipecalls the south end of Elitch Gardens home located very close to Boomerang. Halfpipeis a welcome addition to the park after the Flying Coaster that was added in 2002 and received poor reviews from enthusiasts and the public alike. This new coaster rises the coaster count at the Garden to eight. Hopefully, this will be a sign of great new rides forElitch Gardens.
Thrillseekers trek through the park and make their way onto the boarding platform of Halfpipe. When they reach the loading platform, they board the unique coaster car. The car is shaped like a giant snowboard with two large seating pods on it. Riders sit in one of the two eight-seated freely rotating passenger areas. Once the sixteen seats are filled and the over the shoulder restraint is locked in place, the ride is on. The LIM motors launch the car out of the station and straight up the 100-foot front spike at nearly 40-mph. Once the car reaches the top of the spike, it starts its way back down and soars to the top of the rear spike. At this point riders notice that their seats are rotating freely while the ride moves, making the experience even more thrilling. The snowboard continues to drift back and forth between the two spikes until it eventually loses speed. Once the train is almost stopped, the brakes latch on and bring it to a halt. The restraints open and the riders are released to explore the rest of the park, or brave the Halfpipe once again.
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