Slagharen is a perfect example why I love Europe. It was cold; it was rainy. I'm pretty sure most US parks would have closed without any hesitation. But in Europe, there is nothing to fear. That is unless you hate water. Then you should be very afraid.
Until 2 years ago, I had no clue Slagharen even existed. But a shiny triple launching Gerstlauer put it on my radar. I wasn't able to join TPR in 2017 for the post-trip, but I was able to squeeze this western themed park in on my most recent Europe trip.
I had no clue this park was owned by Parques Reunidos going into my visit, but I wasn't the least bit surprised once I entered the park and found that almost everything had a delayed opening.
One of the earliest rides to open was Gold Rush and even that didn't open for a half hour. I guess the moral of the story is to not rush to Slagharen for opening. I know that now, but there was nothing on the site mentioning they did this.
But Gold Rush was worth the wait. Unlike the Mack triple launchers, Gold Rush's second and third launches actually have some kick to them. However, my favorite part may have been the hangtime on the reverse spike. It's strong and very sustained, particularly towards the back.
The top hat surprisingly offered no air towards the front, but it instead offered some strong laterals. The back was the opposite, as the laterals were minimal but the drop had some great ejector air. That's followed by an overbank that had me seeing grey and a camelback with strong airtime throughout the train.
Last but not least was Gold Rush's wild finale, the dive loop. I got the hangtime I expected, but I was not prepared for the wild laterals on my front row ride. This whip was much less pronounced towards the back.
I think I preferred the front on Gold Rush because of the laterals, but the back was great too for the better airtime/hangtime. I know it's cliche, but both Slagharen and Gerstlauer struck gold with this ride. 8 out of 10
I also have to note the operations on Gold Rush. They were efficient. In fact, they may have been too efficient. There were several instances where guests were placing their belongings in loose article bins and the ops accidentally closed a restraint. But instead of unlocking them, they would open the airgates and make you wait for the next train. I've never seen this at any other park.
After riding Gold Rush for a half hour, everything else opened. So I made the Wild West Adventure dark ride my next stop. This dark ride is a bit odd since it's housed in a giant tent rather than a traditional show building, but it was perfectly fine.
Wild West Adventure basically uses a river rapids ride system minus the rapids. I was expecting a relatively cheap and basic dark ride, but this had a wonderful atmosphere, some solid Indian and cowboy animatronics, and a few bonus effects like geysers synchronized with gunshots. 8 out of 10
I then backtracked to the front of the park where it was noticeably busier. And when I say busy, I'm referring to 5-10 minute waits. It was actually impressive things weren't walk-ons considering the weather.
The roller skater was fittingly themed to a mine train. It was also unoriginally named Mine Train. This was one of the extended versions. I've said it before, but I find the smaller ones to be a bit smoother and punchier. 3 out of 10
I was already soaked, so I took a lap on Ripsaw Falls. There was no Dudley Do-Right or crazy drops on this flume, but you could get equally as drenched.
You see, the second lift comes dangerously close to the splashdown. And when I saw a full boat coming, I knew I was screwed.
But outside of that, it wasn't a particularly good or memorable flume. 4 out of 10
Slagharen is home to arguably the coolest looking swinger out there in Apollo. But does it ride as well as it looks? Not really.
While most swing rides get their height from the base rising, Apollo gets all its height from centripetal force. This results in a meager max height and the lack of tilt made it duller than the other wave swingers or yo-yos I've ridden. 4 out of 10
The hardest ride to check off was Free Fall. This was the only ride I saw close when the rain was at its worst. But when the rain reduced to a drizzle, I was finally able to ride this drop tower.
I have no clue who the manufacturer is (Fabbri?), but the restraints were bulky. You had the normal OSTR plus this chest plate component. Because of this, I didn't feel any air on the drop. I did get a nice stomach drop sensation at the start of the drop though, probably because of how sudden it was. There was zero warning. As far as drop towers go, it was decent. 7 out of 10
I also rode the Observation Tower at one point, but I have nothing to show for it. Picture a car windshield in a rainstorm without wipers. That was basically my ride in a nutshell.
Before leaving, I took a few more laps on Gold Rush. It had some technical difficulties in the middle of the day, but it was still able to run in a downpour. Gold Rush is such a nice fit for a park like Slagharen.
Slagharen isn't in the top tiers of European parks, but it's an enjoyable place for what it is. Gold Rush is a very good coaster and the park has a solid atmosphere. Just don't order a burger. I ordered a "plain burger" and got this vile thing.