Hersheypark was a park that I knew little about, which in this case means I knew it was the land of Hershey chocolate and the home to the monster that is known as Skyrush.
And there she is, as viewed from the park’s currently under construction new entrance plaza.
This is what we came for, so we wasted no time in joining the small queue that was formed outside the yet to open main gate. Before we had time to properly comprehend what we were getting ourselves into though, we were up the stairs and into the lair of the beast.
Skyrush as you’ll no doubt know is an Intamin Wing Coaster, the trains are 8 rows long with 4 across seating, with the centre 2 seats riding above the bright yellow track and the left and right seats winged out from the train hanging in mid air. Where these wing coasters become the absolute weapons they are, is in the winged seats. Riding in the centre will offer a much more tamed back experience.
For my first ride on Skyrush I was seated on a centre seat, which as just explained is certainly not the right way to experience it. How was it though?
It was amazing, far more intense, with much more aggressive ejector airtime than I had ever experienced on an Intamin Hyper before, possibly the strongest ejector air I had ever experienced come to think of it.
You’ll never be able to notice it offride but the first drop is angled in such a way that about half way down it you are violently ejected forward into the very minimal restraint. Take it from a man who’s very rarely scared or put off by coasters anymore, this trick is absolutely evil and I love it.
So in the centre seat, you get to experience the evil ejector drop from hell and some of the World’s strongest ejector air over Skyrush’s many regular airtime hills.
That sounds really good, why are saying it’s all about the winged seats? We’ll come back later to find out…
By the way I apologise now for the lack of good photos of Skyrush, as stated earlier the park were constructing their new entrance plaza, thus blocking access to large areas around Skyrush.
Time to dust off the park’s other coasters before another fray with Skyrush.
This Schwarzkopf terrain looping coaster was fine, if a little forgettable.
Comet was awesome, a truly fantastic wooden coaster built in the 40’s that offers a better ride than many modern woodies. Crazy airtime, minimal restraints, bags of character, I loved Comet.
Great Bear was an interesting, if ultimately not very impressive B&M Invert. On the plus side it didn’t ride awfully like Alpengeist.
Hershey’s Arrow Mine Train, I’ve got nothing to really say about it.
I have to give the park credit for just how damn efficiently they were running their Wild Mouse, even more so because there was no queue at the time. We just strolled into the empty station, boarded a mouse sliding through, got the cred, jumped out the mouse as he slid back through the station. Exactly what you want when you’re dusting off filler.
In yesterday’s report I stated Wicker Man had soured my opinion of GCI, then InvadR wasn’t all that great. So how was Wildcat the company’s first creation?
Lots of corners with not much happening… I was kept amused by laughing at how disgusted Heartline was with the experience. He was always the bigger GCI fan, so watching his stone face as we hit corner after corner was hilarious to me.
I’ve heard a rumour they are going to RMC this? Please.
I do apologise for the lack of photos of the last 3 coasters, I left my phone in the Skyrush lockers.
After getting it back, we visited the park’s Subway, after discoving American Subway kicks some serious freaking ass.
Well this one didn’t…
Can I have a footlong please? No.
Can I have herbs and cheese bread please? No.
Can I have swiss cheese please? No.
Could you toast it please? No.
After probably the worst Subway of my life, we got back to the coasters.
Starting strong with the park’s Zamperla kiddy cred.
Next up was Lightning Racer, a pair of racing GCIs, that I found to be rather good actually, much better than Wildcat at the very least. Good pops of air, some fun laterals and the always welcome inclusion of racing.
Clone Maurer spinner in a badly themed warehouse, featuring the only large queue of the day, disgusting.
With that unpleasantness out the way though we had ticked off all the available coasters at the park. Fahrenheit, Storm Runner and Sidewinder had not opened today and we had given up hope by now, assuming the park were going to use the excuse, “it’s Springtime in the Park boys, not full season, so suck it”.
We did another lap of the closed coasters however.
Fahrenheit had a train with test dummies in, with a plastic sheet on the floor, so that’s probably a no then.
Sidewinder, a Vekoma Boomerang, was not worth the effort of a deeper assessment…
Storm Runner had a large rabble of people collecting outside and we could see operators in the control tower, this looks promising. We had nothing better to do than ride Skyrush until it quite literally breaks our legs, so let’s join this crowd and see what happens.
About 5 minutes after we joined, the coaster began testing to applause. I’ve always been interested in the complexity of Intamin hydraulic launch coasters, so it was a joy to witness launch after launch. Not that much later, long enough to get sun burnt though, the coaster opened, once again to applause.
I’m so glad the park managed to get this beast open because it’s awesome, my joint favourite Intamin Accelerator Coaster, with the other being Speed Monster.
Storm Runner, much like Speed Monster, bucks the Accelerator trend in that they do more than just intense launch, top hat, brakes.
The coaster is a great mix of intense and snappy inversions, crazy ejector and insane amounts of positive G.
On leaving the coaster we spoke to a friendly looking member of staff and asked him why Fahrenheit wasn’t running, his reponse caused us to laugh in his face. “It’s too cold”, he tells us, while it’s mid 20s and him and I are both currently violently sunburnt…
After this we had an evening meal, rode the park’s observation tower and rerode all the stuff we liked, minus Skyrush of course, we had a plan for that madness.
And the plan was this, spend the last 90 minutes of the day getting utterly destroyed by it.
To recap, centre seat on Skyrush = strongest ejector air on Earth and easily one of the most intense drops ever created. Finally now though I’ll answer what happens when you take the floor away and sit on the wing, absolute carnage.
Firstly everything gets extra intense, I didn’t expect it at first but just having somewhere to put your feet is a God send when you’re dealing with negative forces this intense. I can’t stress enough the feeling of helplessness Skyrush’s wing seats instill in you, you’ve got no where to put your feet, nothing to hold onto, you’re completely at the mercy of the beast. No matter how many times you’ve ridden it, I’ve no doubt at every air time moment, of which there’s many, you’ll find your hands trying and failing to grab onto something and your legs shooting in all directions in a failed attempt to find something, just anything to stop you from being ejected into orbit.
Secondly and most importantly, Skyrush is designed with countless moments made to absolutely wreck you if you made the poor decision to the sit in the wing seats. What look like harmless banked corners offride, what ride like snappy changes of direction in the centre seats, are designed to violently eject you sideways in the wing seats. It’s absolutely terrifying.
In the right seats, Skyrush is one of the scariest roller coasters on Earth, one of the most intense coasters on Earth and features the BEST ejector air on Earth.
Even after countless rides Skyrush NEVER got predictable, NEVER lost it’s intensity and ALWAYS scared the crap out of me.
With every cell in our bodies screaming no more, we rode Skyrush until it closed, loving every second, screaming every second, this was it guys, I’d been waiting too long to find a coaster like this.
I am in no way exaggerating when I tell you that me and Heartline limped to the car that night but it didn’t matter because we were both grinning like idiots, Skyrush is the good stuff, trust me.
Hersheypark is a lovely park, run by friendly staff, with a great coaster line up, it is also home to one of the finest creations on Earth, a monster they call Skyrush.
Thanks for reading, click here for day 5, Six Flags Great Adventure, the home of the bull.