PW-JUL19-50-51-Ride profile.qxp_Feature 15/07/2019 17:22 Page 51

Ride Profile

“You just can’t sit still in the entertainment industry,”

observes Jones. “Our guests are always looking for something new and different, and this year we really delivered. This is the Carolinas’ first double launch roller coaster, and it’s the perfect complement to our 14-coaster lineup. It’s different in that it starts with a powered launch rather than a conventional lift hill, and it’s also the perfect

family thrill ride. It’s just fast enough, just tall enough and just thrilling enough to appeal to everyone in the family.” Copperhead Strike simulates the harrowing chase of

getaway cars racing through rolling farmland over 3,255 feet (992 m) of copper colored triangular truss steel track. Without the need of a lift hill, the coaster’s maximum height is 82 feet (25 m). Sprawling over five acres (two hectares), it reaches a top speed of 52 mph (84 kph) during one minute 35 seconds of active ride time. It sends riders on a serpentine and relentless ride with two LSM launches and through five inversions. The ride layout is custom designed for Carowinds, sending riders into a Jo Jo roll right out of the station. It then launches them from zero to 42 mph (68 kph) in 2.5 seconds into a series of near-miss twists, turns, a 360º vertical loop, and a corkscrew. Then, without slowing down, launches a second time, into an inverted top hat and a second 360º vertical loop, leaving riders breathless and wondering which way is up.

Very Re-ridable “We are getting rave reviews from guests of all ages,” Jones reports. “They love that slow Jojo roll right out of the station, that’s a pretty unusual experience. They also enjoy the hang time – especially in that first loop – and the airtime. Guests are also enjoying the extensive theming surrounding the ride. It’s the complete coaster package.” “I was one of the first to ride,” she continues, “and it is such

a blast. I’ve ridden several times now and it’s hard to choose a best part. It’s a little deceiving from the ground. So maybe the best part is the pleasant surprise riders get when it’s even more fun than they expected. It’s also very re-ridable, even for guests who don’t ride all the most intense coasters. I love seeing whole families enjoying the ride together.” Seating riders in one of three 16 passenger four-car trains,

Copperhead Strike provides Carowinds with hourly capacity of 1,200 per hour. Passengers are secured by individual lap bars. Jones believe Copperhead Strike will spark attendance.

“New capital always draws attention, and we’ve added a fabulous new coaster, but that’s not all. The coaster anchors the seven-acre Blue Ridge Junction, an area themed after the majestic Carolina Mountains. Blue Ridge Junction features a new restaurant, ice cream shop, plenty of shady place- making spots and a long-time fan favorite, the Mountain

Gliders. Our hope is that we’re enhancing our product offering in ways that draw repeat visitors and new visitors from across the Carolinas.”

Ready to Problem-Solve Like with many new roller coasters, construction was not easy. “The weather can always challenge us, and this past winter it was exceptionally wet,” recalls Jones. “We made a plan to get concrete in the ground early and that really paid off for us, but the rain kept coming. We have a dedicated team that worked through difficult conditions to deliver the ride for opening day. “ “We chose Mack Rides for their superior reputation in the

industry,” she adds, “their technical expertise and the quality work they’ve put out around the world. Working with them was a great experience. These projects are more complicated than people realize and Mack was always ready to problem- solve throughout every phase of the project.” For others considering adding a major roller coaster, Jones

has this advice. “The most valuable learning I’d pass on is to build in plenty of commissioning time to allow the team to build up rider capacity.” The new ride is just one element of a year of major development at the park. SpringHill Suites by Marriott at Carowinds, a 130-room hotel currently under construction, is expected to open in late 2019. A new dorm will house students from across the region and around the world for the first time this year, allowing Carowinds to develop a rich internship program for travel and tourism students. Carowinds is a 400-acre (162-hectare) theme park

located on the border of North and South Carolina. It is home to more than 60 rides, shows and attractions, including 14 world-class rollercoasters and Carolina Harbor, a top-rated 26-acre (10.5-hectare) water park. Carowinds is owned and operated by Cedar Fair Entertainment.

JULY 2019 51

Copperhead Strike Fun

Facts Coaster Type: Double Launch coaster First Launch: From 0 to 42 mph in 2.5 seconds Second Launch: From 35 mph to 50 mph in 2 seconds Track Length: 3,255 feet Number of Inversions: 5 Amount of Steel Used: 530 tons Manufacturer: Mack Rides

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