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NEWS: Gerstlauer to build record-breaking US-based roller coaster in 2022

P. 5: Glenwood Caverns announces record-breaking coaster, Defiance

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The odd way this was announced tells me this isn't going into one of the big chain parks. I just cannot imagine they would be cool with this kind of "announcement of an announcement". CF and SF (yes, even SF) covet those announcements, especially roller coasters. So does Seaworld/Busch. Just makes me think its an independent park. I don't see one of the bigger companies being ok with it because it could be seen as potentially stealing their thunder of the actual announcement. The way it's so vague and, frankly, kind of amateurish in the way this is less a real announcement and more of a "neener, neener, we know something you don't" also tells me a bigger marketing dept wouldn't be cool with it. 

Who knows, though. 

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@thisdougsforuBut really, was anything announced by Gerstlauer at all?  All they said was "big project coming somewhere eventually," with no accompanying visuals or further information.

I can't see any parks' marketing team being upset with that.

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When I was at CP near the end of June, there were still lots of orange survey flags scattered throughout the Antique Cars area. I personally think a giant Gerstlauer with 15 inversions would totally ruin the nicest area of the park... but who knows. Maybe the project was cancelled.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Glenwood Caverns has announced their new record-breaking coaster, Defiance, which will feature 110-foot freefall drop at a beyond-vertical 102.3 degrees along with three inversions!

2ae5a72c-8b4d-4585-bfed-aecc16c8ea4a-Defiance_coaster_layout.jpeg.e23b84dec18b280b015dd9463c766bb3.jpeg

https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/experience/america/theme-parks/2021/08/05/roller-coasters-colorado-theme-park-plans-mountaintop-coaster-2022/5495447001/

With a 110-foot freefall drop at a beyond-vertical 102.3 degrees and three disorienting inversions, Defiance, a new roller coaster coming next summer to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, would be plenty thrilling regardless of its location.

But here’s what will put it over the edge: It will straddle Iron Mountain, some 1,300 feet above the town and the Colorado River. You can start screaming now.

Representing the small park’s largest ride investment to date, Defiance will capitalize on Glenwood Caverns’ unique mountaintop location and provide new ways to experience its spectacular vistas.

“We thought this would be out of our league,” says Nancy Heard, the park’s general manager, referring to the extreme coaster. “And it is a bit of a stretch. But the view will be absolutely phenomenal. And the drop will take your breath away.”

According to Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, the German-based company that will be manufacturing the custom coaster, Defiance will begin with a 75-foot vertical lift hill (passengers will probably want to empty their pockets before boarding) and momentarily slow to a crawl at its apex for what it has dubbed a “panorama stall.” Because this will be in Colorado, riders will really be up there where the air is rare – at 7,132 feet above sea level.

There won’t be too much time to take in the sights, however, as the eight-passenger trains will almost immediately plummet down the beyond-vertical drop. How could a coaster climb 75 feet and fall 110 feet? Navigating the park’s mountainous terrain, the track will descend into a ravine.

The park is bragging that Defiance will feature the steepest freefall drop in the Western U.S. In fact, Cannibal, a coaster at Lagoon in Utah, has a 116-degree drop.

The keyword, apparently, is “freefall.” As Gerald Ryan, technical manager at Ride Entertainment, the company that will be installing the coaster, explains, most beyond-vertical coasters include either holding brakes to stop the train or trim brakes to slow it down. Defiance, however, will be a “true, gravity-driven freefall drop,” he says.

Regardless of the record-breaking claims, it will surely be a freaky ride experience as the track folds in on itself. Helping to ensure a freaky ride experience: The seats will forego over-the-shoulder restraints and only use ratcheting lap bars.

“You’ll be suspended at the top of the mountain looking down at Glenwood Springs before you disappear into the abyss with nothing but a lap bar,” Heard says. “Oh my God!”

Gerstlauer, by the way, is known for its beyond-vertical coaster drops. It manufactured TMNT Shellraiser at Nickelodeon Universe in New Jersey, the world’s steepest coaster at 121.5 degrees.

After dropping and revving up to 56 mph, passengers will brave a “twisted top hat” that will invert them before sending the train racing in a different direction, a “banana roll” that will flip them yet again, and a final “zero-G roll” that will toss them while simultaneously sending them rising through the element. Less than a minute after they began their mountaintop journey, the riders will return to the station.

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They’ll be comin’ round the mountain

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime location,” says Ed Hiller, CEO of Ride Entertainment. Installing the coaster may pose once-in-a-lifetime challenges. Glenwood Caverns visitors park at the base of the mountain and ride in a gondola to its summit. To access the park, service vehicles climb a narrow, steep, dirt road that includes several switchbacks. Just getting the equipment, track, and other materials to the top of Iron Mountain will require lots of planning and deft handling.

For example, Heard says semitrailers bound for the park have great difficulty turning around. “We’ll probably have to unload the trailer, take a crane, lift the flatbed up and turn it 180 degrees so we can point it back downhill.” (Which raises the question: How will they get a crane up there?)

In addition to delivery concerns, Ride Entertainment will have to contend with the site’s hilly terrain as well as likely snow, ice, and wind during the installation,  which is scheduled to begin in the early spring.

Had the park been able to go with its initial concept, the installation would be even trickier. “Originally, we wanted the coaster to go off the edge of the cliff,” says Heard. That design proved to be cost-prohibitive, however.

If going off the edge of the cliff sounds appealing, Glenwood Caverns has just the ride for you. Its Giant Canyon Swing hits 50 mph as its pendulum arm arcs about 90 degrees into the ether with nothing but the Colorado River 1,300 feet below.

In 2017, the park opened the Haunted Mine Drop. The only drop tower ride to start at ground level and plummet down, it freefalls 110 feet into Iron Mountain’s inky darkness. Other attractions include two smaller roller coasters, an alpine coaster and a zip line-like ride that passengers can experience by sitting in side-by-side seats.

Glenwood Caverns began adding rides in 2005 to help occupy visitors waiting to enter its two mountaintop caves. Now the attractions have become key features of the adventure park. The new coaster will take it to another level.

“Defiance is going to be a big shot in the arm, especially post-COVID,” Heard says, apparently not recognizing the pun. “It shows our commitment.”

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HAHAHAHA.  Too much.

Here's the whole article.

Hey, at least they were truthful when they said "unique and challenging location."

Edit:  Oh, and the world record?

"Western US's steepest freefall drop without a holding brake."

Really grasping straws here...

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Pretty cool layout for being a shorter ride, really cool addition to this park. I'm probably not going to make a trip to CO specifically for this or anything but if I were in the area this place would be on the top of my list to check out.

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To the "I'm not going out of the way for this place" crowd, let me do my good deed for the day and tell you all to go out of your way for this place. It's incredible, the caverns are cool, the views are ridiculous, the drive there is beautiful, they have their own beer that you can drink on a deck looking down a 1000 foot mountain, the swing and mine drop are crazy, everything about it is great. Plus Denver is great and it's Frontier's home base so you can probably fly there for like $40 from anywhere in the country if price is what's holding you back.

Every time I see a trip report where someone goes to Lakeside and Elitch Gardens ("BUT it's closing soon!!!!!" ... good, it should hurry up and do that) and doesn't go here because "it's out of the way" a little part of me dies. I don't care if you're in Denver for 12 hours, you should still rent a car and go to Glenwood Caverns and not Elitch Gardens or Lakeside.

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We had a heck of a day out in Glenwood Springs. Super busy but man, was it awesome.

We drove out from Denver first thing in morning and parked at the visitors center for the Hanging Lake trail. Took a shuttle up to the hike (parking lot isn't big enough, so all hiking is done via shuttle). Did the hike in 3 hours. Came down and grabbed lunch. Went to an incredible Brewery (Casey) who is known for their Sours. From there, spent 4 hours at Glenwood Caverns (did both Caves and all of the attractions a few times). Finished up the day with the after 9:00 pass for the Hot Springs nearby.

Hit all the highlights in a day. Easily could be spread out over two. Beautiful beautiful area and the park is a complete blast. Good for them, a big add.

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Am I the only person who thought that the record was highest (in terms of elevation) looping roller coaster in the USA and iirc the world?  

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4 minutes ago, leqant said:

Am I the only person who thought that the record was highest (in terms of elevation) looping roller coaster in the USA and iirc the world?  

From the article,
 

Quote

The park is bragging that Defiance will feature the steepest freefall drop in the Western U.S. In fact, Cannibal, a coaster at Lagoon in Utah, has a 116-degree drop.

 

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It sounds like they're counting the freefall drop as one that doesn't have a holding break/trim, but then limiting it the western half of the U.S... Is there a coaster in the eastern half that has a drop over 102° without a holding break/trim? If not, I'm surprised they aren't including that "freefall"-specific record for the whole country.

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Steel Hawg maybe? Been a couple years since I've been on it, can't remember if there's a holding brake or not. I don't think there is.

 

Edit: Yeah, after watching the POV, looks like there's not a holding brake, but there is a trim. Not sure then. It's possible this is it, if they don't care about the trim.

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Me to the Cedar Point fanboys who say that I'm dumb for thinking Cedar Point isn't getting a coaster since they haven't been teasing or starting construction: 

"Well well well...."

I know people are making fun of the record, but really doesn't this take the record for the world's highest elevation coaster? Previously it was Cliffhanger at the same park. Or am I just making this up? 

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18 minutes ago, LegendLover said:

I know people are making fun of the record, but really doesn't this take the record for the world's highest elevation coaster? Previously it was Cliffhanger at the same park. Or am I just making this up? 

In theory, yes it takes that irrelevant record from the previous irrelevant record holder at the same park.

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On 4/23/2021 at 8:20 PM, ytterbiumanalyst said:

I'm going to go with Glenwood Caverns. I can't think of a more challenging park to build on in the U.S.

Can we give this man a cookie?

 

Yes, this has been in the planning since I left the company five years ago. Originally planned for the cliff but it's just about impossible to shoehorn something off it like this. For anyone that can't really pick out where it is going to go pretty much right below the main building below the 4D Theater.

 

The record claim is well, a much click baity sadly though it is an excellent addition regardless. Listen to people like coasterbill and get out here. Early June is a great time or if you want to hold off till after Labor Day the park is pretty quite. You might not want to come right now though unless you like a 6-7 hour drive. (Hopefully that mess will be cleaned up by Winter.)

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2 hours ago, IronWolfman said:

Even funnier is, I believe everything at SFM has a higher elevation than Glenwood by a few hundred feet.

Yep. Six Flags Mexico sits around 8,000 feet. Glenwood Caverns is at about 7,100 feet.

Literally all they had to say was "highest looping coaster in the country" and that sounds very marketable. Not sure what they're trying to go for with that drop record lol.

Nonetheless this coaster seems totally awesome. I visit Utah often so hopefully a detour out to Glenwood is in the future someday. Good for them!

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