Storm Chaser to Blow into Kentucky Kingdom

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    Hybrid Wooden-Steel Coaster Will Open in 2016

    Kentucky Kingdom. Used with permission.

    July 2015

    Since it reopened in 2014, Kentucky Kingdom has been slowly but surely bringing its former rides back on line and introducing new ones. For the 2016 season, it will be doing both by debuting a new ride built on the frame of an existing one.

    The hybrid wooden-steel coaster, Storm Chaser, will impose a steel track on the former wooden coaster, Twisted Twins. The, ahem, track record of Rocky Mountain Construction, the ride designer that will be developing the new attraction, is stellar. If Storm Chaser is anything like the manufacturer's other hybrid coasters, such as Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, park fans are in for a real treat.

    Coaster Stats

    • Type of coaster: Hybrid wooden-steel
    • Top speed: 52 mph
    • Height: 100 feet
    • Angle of descent: 78°
    • Inversions: 3
    • Ride time: 1:40
    • Ride manufacturer: Rocky Mountain Construction

    Rocky Mountain will repurpose some of the Twisted Twins' (which was known as Twisted Sisters when it first opened) wooden structure for the new ride, but apparently not a heckuva lot if it. For one, the old coaster, as its name implies, was a twin-track racing coaster. Storm Chaser, however, will be a traditional single-track coaster. It will therefore lose 3,000 feet of track.

    For another, many of the elements and much of the course will be altered. It will retain Twisted Twins' out-and-back layout. But it will increase its lift hill height from 80 feet to 100 feet, change its angle of descent to a steep 78 degrees, and shorten the duration of the ride from over two minutes to 1:40.

    Most significantly, like other Rocky Mountain hybrid coasters that feature its patented "IBox" steel track, Storm Chaser will include inversions. Yup, it will be a wooden-ish coaster that will send riders upside down. The first inversion will be a doozy: a barrel roll during the first drop. The Kentucky Kingdom ride will be the only coaster in the U.S. with such a wacky element.

    Other elements will include a highly banked stall at 140 degrees, an off-axis airtime hill which will catapult passengers out of their seats at a precarious angle, and a "trick track double-up," which will send the trains racing uphill, and then uphill again -- an unusual move, especially since it will be located towards the end of the course.

    Fans and ride critics (myself included) adore the hybrid coasters from Rocky Mountain for their silky-smooth rides (despite their wooden coaster origins) and their incredible airtime. Storm Chaser should deliver on both counts.

    Next up: Corkscrew Downdrop

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Corkscrew Downdrop

    Kentucky Kingdom. Used with permission.

    It's one thing for a wooden-ish coaster to include a corkscrew. It's another for a coaster to drop from a 100-foot height at 78 degrees. But it's something else altogether to combine both elements. Storm Chaser will be the only coaster in America to feature a corkscrew on the first drop -- and a crazy-steep drop at that.

    Next up: 140-Degree Stall

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    140-Degree Stall

    Kentucky Kingdom. Used with permission.

    After the first drop, Storm Chaser riders will experience a couple of exhilarating airtime hills before entering into a highly banked and loooooong curve. How highly banked? How about 140 degrees? It will be so severe, riders will feel as if the train has momentarily stalled.

    Next up: Trick Track Double-Up

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Trick Track Double-Up

    Kentucky Kingdom. Used with permission.

    With the unload station in sight, passengers will be anticipating the end of the ride and will be expecting the coaster to loose its oomph. Instead, the "trick track double-up" (who comes up with these names?) will take riders by surprise as they soar up, then up a second time.