I just got back from the Steel Curtain media day event and wanted to write up a report for all the fine folks here at TPR. In summer 2018 I was lucky enough to win a spot on the first ride for Kennywood's latest coaster. After what seemed like an eternal wait, the day finally came to ride.
First I wanted to give a shoutout to Kennywood: The weather here in Pittsburgh has been nothing but deluge rain the last few days with scattered large storms the last few weeks. It is nothing short of impressive that this event was able to go off without a hitch and the ride, queue and landscaping looked fully complete. Technical rehearsals scheduled Wednesday and Thursday had to be cancelled because of a lack of training and testing time. We were told to arrive at the park at 5:30 for check in with the first ride going off at 6:30am. Check in was quick and easy and we were riding almost exactly at the scheduled time.
I was able to ride Steel Curtain twice today, one in the 3rd row one in the 8th. The ride starts with a slow, steep ascent up that feel much higher than it is due to the cliffside to the right of the ride. The first inversion has amazing hang time in the front and the first drop feels like it goes forever. In the back you pull through this inversion much faster and it isn't as much fun. The turn at the bottom of the drop has some surprising lateral forces and then you pull up into the banana roll. This inversion was a little disappointing as its taken so fast, there is no side hang time like people have been reporting on Maxx Force's dog tongue inversion. The airtime hill after the banana roll has much stronger negative g in the back than the front. After the Sea Serpent the ride comes alive. All the elements have amazing forces including the little cutback before the brake run. Most people I talked to agreed this may be the best element on the ride. The pacing is amazing with a time for your body to recompose itself after the quick transitions through the inversions. I avoid large B&M loopers because I feel motion sick after riding, but this ride is incredibly re-rideable. There is a bit of a rattle while riding, but it does not take away from how amazing this ride is.
A totally minor disappointment with the ride: there is a tradition before every Steelers game the team plays Renegade by Styx. The park installed speakers along the lift that play the song and are timed where the "scream" that really kicks off the song should play as you go over the top of the lift. Unfortunately the lift catches are so loud you cannot hear the speakers on the ride. Hopefully they can turn up the volume.
All in all, Kennywood has an absolute winner on their hands, and S&S should be proud of what they accomplished. S&S's president was there today talking with riders as they got off, and every good review you could see a little weight lifted off his shoulders. I genuinely can't wait to see what S&S will come up with in the next few years. Best news of the day, as I was walking out, they were testing Sky Rocket so hopefully that ride will be back online this weekend to complete the coaster lineup.
Anyways, on to the Photos! Apologies for the low quality of these shots, they were taken on an iPhone and I'm not a photographer
We were given Terrible Towels with Kennywood and Steel Curtain logos upon checking in.
The sun came out later for what ended up being perfect weather for a day in the park.
Congratulations to S&S and Kennywood on an amazing ride!!
Shot of some Landscaping. They were still pruning and adjusting this morning
Second Train of the morning heading up the incredibly steep lift hill
All the stats we had to match for the 412 contest to be first riders.
The Steelers Country sign matches the design of detail pieces at Heinz Field, the Steeler's home field. Neat Touch!
I'm not a big fan of big inverting coasters (motion sickness) so I was feeling a little nervous this morning
Grey skies are pretty typical for Pittsburgh, but luckily no rain today!!
Looking back at the Media coming up for their first rides
Coming out of the Banana Roll. This element was fairly forceless, no side hang time like has been reported on Maxx Force's dog tongue