A roller coaster that has inversions and sends riders upside down? Been there, done that you say? Well sure, you've braved loops, corkscrews, and other elements on steel coasters. But if you want to twist right-side-down aboard a wooden coaster, you're going to have to wait until spring 2013. That's when Silver Dollar City will be debuting Outlaw Run, the world's only woodie to send riders heels over head. (UPDATED: Since this was first written, parks have announced that two more sort-of wooden coasters with inversions will debut in 2013: Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Hades 360 at Mount Olympus, both of which will be remodeled existing coasters.)
- Type of coaster: Wood, with steel "topper" track
- Height: 107-foot lift hill
- First drop: 162 feet
- Top speed: 68 mph
Outlaw Run is one of the top 10 fastest wooden roller coasters.
- Track length: 2937 feet
- Ride time: 1:27 minutes
- Height requirement: 48 inches
Take a virtual ride in a preview video of Outlaw Run.
Breaking Records -- but not the LawThe craziest thing about Outlaw Run? The fact that it will go upside down (three times no less) may not be its most arresting element. At 81 degrees (that's a mere nine degrees shy of a straight shot down), it will boast the world's steepest drop for a wooden coaster. And while it won't break the record, its 162-foot drop will rank as the world's second biggest right behind the 176-foot-long drop for El Toro. If you are wondering how a coaster could rise 107 feet and drop 162 feet, it will use the natural topography of the park's Ozark Mountains setting to send riders racing into a valley.
Running at a projected top speed of 68 mph, it will also claim the second record-breaking spot in that category, again behind El Toro and barely ahead of the 67.4-mph The Voyage. (Thanks, as always, to Roller Coaster Database for its well-catalogued statistical data.)
Here's the thing though: The park and the ride's manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction, may not be breaking any laws by claiming records, but the coaster may not exactly be a "wooden" coaster in the strictest sense of the word. It will feature steel "topper" track. Rocky Mountain has used a similar steel-track-on-wooden-structure concept to bring new life to other tired coasters. The structure will be wooden, but the steel track will enable the coaster to engage in inversions and other elements that a more standard woodie wouldn't be able to handle.
Not to nitpick, but one of the "inversions" will actually be a 153-degree outside banked turn. Granted, that's an extremely over-banked turn, but it is not a true 180-degree, completely-upside-down element. Still, riders will effectively experience that as an inversion. Besides, there's no denying the 720-degree double barrel roll towards the end of the ride will absolutely send riders spinning topsy-turvy.
The last time a wooden coaster attempted an inversion, things didn't go so well. Son of Beast at Kings Island had a loop (which was made of steel track) when it debuted in 2000. The inversion element was removed soon thereafter when the coaster encountered problems. The entire trouble-prone ride was closed for good in 2009. Given Rocky Mountain's solid success at Six Flags, my hopes are high that it will get the inversions-on-a-woodie formula right with Outlaw Run.
Beyond the hype of the inversions and bragging rights for its stats, the coaster appears to have a great layout and should provide the kind of ride that fans adore. The modified out and back ride will cross itself once under its lift hill. Among its features will be double-down and double-up hills and something the park is calling a "high speed low float" that will cover a long stretch of track and will likely deliver a nice pop of airtime. According to the park, the coaster will include nine moments of airtime overall; that alone may have ride fans -- myself included -- running to ride Outlaw.