Specific Type: Custom Looping Coaster
In the early 1980’s, Darien Lake Fun Country was about to become even more “Fun Country” when the park developed a deal with HUSS rides to become the US park to showcase HUSS’ new flat ride concepts such as their Troika model and their Ranger model. The park enjoyed moderate popularity, but lacked something every major park had, a roller coaster. Meanwhile, HUSS announced they had merged with Logan, Utah’s Arrow Dynamics Inc. in the early 1980’s for a very brief period of time. As soon as that piece of news was heard, the park contacted them for something sure to attract many… a looping coaster, but not just any looping coaster, a record breaking looping coaster. In late 1981, Viper was announced as the first coaster in the world with five inversions, a record it held until King's Island opened its six-inversion Vortex coaster from Arrow Dynamics.
When it opened in May of 1982, Viper became a smash hit amongst the enthusiasts, receiving high ratings amongst enthusiasts that have ridden this classic. Today, Viper remains one of the highest rated of its kind, usually for its unusual smoothness for an Arrow coaster of it’s age today. With this coaster being the only one Arrow and HUSS designed together during their brief merger, it is a historical treat and tidbit that makes enthusiasts want to ride this unusual looping coaster even more.
Navigating through the many country themed flats, you see one giant, twisted mound of steel known as Viper. Entering under the vertical loop of this insane ride, navigating through the long and twisty queue as you see the old Arrow track twisting around you as you see riders screaming on the fast moving trains. When you enter the station and board the classic gray painted Arrow trains, seven cars of two across seats, holding twenty-eight passengers to challenge this snakes wild ride.
When the train dispatches, you then go through the usual dip turnaround many Arrow looping coasters have. You then climb up 121 feet, giving you a nice view of the park, dip and turn again into the first drop. Dropping you more than 75 feet toward the entrance at a rushing speed of fifty miles per hour, you encounter Viper’s first inversion, the only vertical loop on the ride. After the loop, you encounter Viper’s next 2 inversions through the Batwing inversion (also known as a Boomerang). Following that, the train careens through diving corkscrew inversion, following a rise up half of a vertical loop and a half of a corkscrew back after survivingViper’s first three inversions.
After that, you may have thought the ride was over and plenty wild enough? Not quite, after the you encounter a brake run, the train then drops down a curved drop into the double corkscrew inversion that goes over the waiting area. Following the last two inversions, completing all five inversions, smile for the camera and turn into the helix finale situated half underground, half above. After the helix, you go through the brakes, slowing you down after going through Viper’s intense layout and making you go head over heels five times.
After Viper, Arrow and HUSS split up, HUSS would go on designing more flat rides and Arrow would continue designing coasters until being bought by S&S in 2002. Viper would continue thrilling riders until park improvements in 1999 by Six Flags, which involved Viper getting a fresh coat of green and black paint after operating with a bland, black paint scheme before that. This original black paint scheme was restored once again however in 2010 when the coaster needed it's next new coat of paint. To this day, Viper remains a hit at the park, though it now pales in comparison to Darien Lake’s signature coaster, Ride of Steel.
If you enjoy looping coasters, Viper at Darien Lake is one you should not miss out on.
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