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UPDATE: Colossus to return at Six Flags Magic Mountain - Twisted

Theme Park's iconic wooden roller coaster to get souped-up retrofit

Posted: August 28, 2014 2:45 a.m.
Updated: August 28, 2014 4:32 p.m.

Six Flags Magic Mountain guests waited on average 90 minutes to ride Colossus one last time earlier this month. On Thursday, park officials unveiled plans for Twisted Colossus.

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Come next spring, Colossus — Six Flags Magic Mountain’s iconic wooden roller coaster — will be transformed into Twisted Colossus, the world’s longest hybrid wood-and-steel coaster, Six Flags officials announced Thursday.

Set to open in spring 2015, the nearly 5,000-foot-long souped up version of the coaster will take passengers on a four-minute ride of inverted loops, 360-degree twists, a 128-foot drop, two “lift hills” and what coaster-builders call a “high five” element.

That’s when two trains pass so close that riders get the illusion of being able to reach out and “high five” each other. Twisted Colossus will be the first roller coaster in the United States to feature a high five element, officials said.

An Idaho-based company called Rocky Mountain Construction is in charge of rebuilding Colossus to create Twisted Colossus. The firm specializes in retrofitting and extending the lives of aging wooden coasters around the U.S. and overseas.

A crew from the construction firm has been at the Colossus site for the past two weeks working on the project, Rocky Mountain Construction spokeswoman Amy Garcia said Thursday.

Extreme retrofit
Park officials say Rocky Mountain Construction’s patented steel track design — known as the I-Box or Iron Horse track — will provide riders with experiences “never before possible on wooden coasters, such as over-banked turns and inversions.”

“With Twisted Colossus, innovation will go to an extreme level with record-breaking elements, faster speeds and steeper banks,” park President Bonnie Rabjohn said in a news release.

“This cutting-edge technology marries the best of both classic and modern coaster designs. It is definitely a twist on a traditional wooden coaster experience.”

Along with the “high five” element, the retrofitting coaster will feature a “Top Gun stall,” which means the roller coaster car slows down while upside down; a “zero G roll,” which means the track twists 360 degrees; and a 128-foot drop at an 80-degree angle.

The ride also will feature 18 “airtime hills” that replicate “the feeling you get when you’re riding in a car and you go over a little hill and your stomach gets that kind of queasy feeling,” Magic Mountain spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said.

There also will be two separate “lift hills,” upward-sloping sections of track on which Twister Colossus’ two trains are mechanically lifted to the highest points in the ride.

Magic Mountain also is building a new themed shopping, dining and entertainment area around Twisted Colossus, dubbed Back Alley, officials announced.

Coaster trend
Retrofitting aging wooden coaster into hybrids has been the trend at amusement parks across the U.S. and overseas for the past several years, said Garcia of Rocky Mountain Construction, whose company also is currently converting two other wooden coasters into hybrids — one at a Six Flags New England and the other at an amusement park in Sweden.

“Parks have realized that wood coaster are costly to maintain, so many are adopting new technologies to extend the life of their wooden coaster,” she said.

Rocky Mountain Construction began refurbishing wooden coasters in 2001, but in 2009 the company patented two steel track designs that allow wooden coasters to be converted into hybrids, Garcia said.

“Now it’s taken off in the industry,” Garcia said.

Reaction to Twisted Colossus’ announcement was mixed among members Save Colossus!, a group of Colossus fans who launched an online campaign to preserve the original Colossus.

While some members were relieved the wooden ride’s superstructure will essentially remain intact, others think the changes go too far, campaign leader Donald Patti said Thursday.

“They’re putting in the I-Box tracks, which is a pretty radical departure for those of us who like the classic feel of the original,” said Patti. “You won’t feel the bumps, the wood feels softer and generally it’s going to sound different.”




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