Celestial Coaster As celestial a coaster as Intamin has ever produced, Skyrush holds the number 2 position on my list of the 10 most intense coasters I’ve ridden. (See my post of July 7, 2017). Riders start screaming as soon as the train is dispatched and makes its swift ascent of the cable lift hill, in anticipation of what lies ahead. What lies ahead is an astonishing ride that’s noteworthy for its insane angles and abrupt changes of direction. The ride begins with a 200-foot right-angled 85-degree drop at 75 mph, continuing on a course of twisting track. A rider in the front seat finds himself or herself looking almost straight down and because of the way the drop is angled, a rider in any seat is likely to experience a complete loss of equilibrium. I find myself so far off balance that I can’t even hold my hands straight in the air. Plus the force at the bottom of the first drop is a whopping 5 G’s. The remainder of the course is an exercise in convolution. The sinuous track contains some seriously – I mean seriously! – overbanked turns/curves. Some of the twists are pretty tight, as can be seen in the featured image. The elements as a whole make for a ride as thrilling as it is exhilarating. And the setting over the water is idyllic. Photo by Bobbie Butterfield Photo by Bobbie Butterfield Innovation Skyrush also gets high marks for originality, as it’s the first coaster to feature trains seating four across with two inside seats and two outside wing seats. The wing seats are farther forward than the inside seats, making for an interesting configuration. (I happen to be a huge fan of wing seats, as I enjoy the freedom of riding off the track.) Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, it is – with the exception of one serious flaw, a flaw that in my opinion prevents Skyrush from being a top ten coaster. Photo by Bobbie Butterfield Critical Flaw The same riders screaming in fear and anticipation at the beginning of the ride may find themselves ready to scream in agony as the ride progresses, as a result of the punishing restraints. The restraint consists of a lap bar pulled down from overhead and sitting on the lap/thighs. This tightens painfully on every drop/twist/turn, pressing into the thighs, hence earning Skyrush the derogatory nickname of “Thighcrush.” Whereas the restraints on coasters with inversions tighten perceptibly in vertical loops, they don’t cause any discomfort. This is a totally different story and probably a surprise for first time riders who don’t board the train with the expectation of having their legs pulverized. Photo by Bobbie Butterfield Comparison With Restraints on Other Forceful Intamin Rides Hersheypark describes Skyrush as “a very active ride.” That is an understatement. I would describe it as frenetic. Certainly the extreme ejector airtime calls for very tight restraints but there must be a way to adequately restrain riders without torturing them. Let’s compare this with El Toro, another Intamin coaster with extreme ejector airtime. The restraints on El Toro are unusually tight and may not accommodate larger riders. Yet as snug as they are, they don’t become increasingly constricting during the course of the ride or cause discomfort to anyone other than those who struggled to fit into them in the first place. Would this restraint system work on Skyrush? Theoretically, yes, but in practicality probably not because the design of the trains is so different. Presumably, however, a similarly effective yet painless restraint system could be used on Skyrush, even if it meant switching to over the shoulder restraints. Intimidator 305, yet another Intamin coaster with extreme ejector airtime, operates seamlessly with OTS restraints – a testament that this type of restraint system is appropriate for non-inverting coasters. Photo by Bobbie Butterfield Safety Plus Comfort Photo by Bobbie Butterfield What a world class coaster ideally offers – in addition to thrills – is safety plus comfort. Skyrush is a good coaster, bordering on greatness, which delivers everything but comfort. I cannot say enough about this. The way I’ve approached every ride I’ve taken on Skyrush was to hope that it wouldn’t be too painful – and let’s face it, that is not a good way to have to approach a ride although in this case it’s a realistic one. I find that the level of discomfort varies from seat to seat and even train to train, but almost every seat is going to be uncomfortable to some extent. You might ask why I even ride it under the circumstances and the answer is a simple one: adrenaline rush! But at what cost? More than a day after last riding Skyrush my left leg was still so sore that it hurt to walk. This is not what someone should take away from an aggressive thrill ride at an amusement park! What’s your take? Have you written Skyrush and if so, what did you think? Did the restraints spoil your enjoyment of the ride? 12 Responses June October 21, 2017 I’ve ridden Skyrush twice. Ironically, I felt as if I was not being restrained enough a few times during the ride and actually worried about being thrown from the ride. I’ve ridden both on the wing and in the center and had the same feeling. I’ll stick to Great Bear. Reply Jon October 25, 2017 I too feel like I will fall out on some of the lateral transitions… and I’ve rode it a ton! The restraints are so minimal, even with many laps on the ride it still can be hard to fully trust them and keep my hands up the entire ride. I love the feeling of freedom but it definitely comes at an extreme price. Reply Bobbie October 25, 2017 It’s interesting that two people have the perception of being inadequately restrained but don’t find the thigh-crushing restraints objectionable. I certainly see where you’re coming from, however. There is a great deal of lateral motion and in fact I’ve seen a couple of onride photos of myself in which I was leaning so far to the side that it looked as if I was about to fall over. That’s another argument in favor of OTS restraints; stabilize the torso but let the legs have some freedom of movement. Michael Roberts October 22, 2017 I haven’t been back to Hershey since Skyrush was built to experience it firsthand, but those restraints sound horrendous. Makes me wonder if there is any risk of provoking deep vein thrombosis. Reply Gina August 20, 2018 I rode it for the first time this weekend and I will NEVER ride again. I have bruises on my thighs and I’m still in pain, two days later. I was in such agony that I spent the entire ride wishing it was over. I dreaded every turn and zero g hill on the ride. The restraints are the absolute worst. Reply Roger Mills September 1, 2018 I don’t know, I thought the restraints were fine, and I am fussy about my restraints – this comes not two weeks after finding Superman at SFNE overrated partially for its restraints. I went with a friend who is definitely on the larger side, and he didn’t particularly find it uncomfortable either. I don’t mean to invalidate anyone’s experience, and I definitely felt like the restraints were cutting off my circulation at points, but at the end of the day I was perfectly fine – no bruises, and it definitely didn’t bring the ride down on my list. No OTSRs, please – that frenetic Reply Rai Fox September 4, 2018 In nearly three decades of riding every coaster I could get myself to, two coasters have earned a “never again” from me. The first was Hercules at Dorney Park…which I rode a second time anyway, much to my regret, before it was turned into firewood. The other is Skyrush. The ride could be so good, but riding in the back left seat as I was told would be best, I was in so much pain that I had no idea what the coaster was even doing by the midpoint of the ride, I just needed it to be OVER. It didn’t help that the ride attendant that had checked my restraint had thrown her entire non-insubstantial bodyweight onto my restraint to staple me in beforehand. The end result was just pure agony though…and this is coming from someone that loved Wildcat even before they switched to the new trains. I’m not delicate when it comes to coasters. Skyrush, though…never again unless those restraints are changed. Reply Ava Zerr June 7, 2019 I’ve ridden skyrush multiple times but never felt the thigh-crushing experience ever. It may just be that my legs are tiny or it could just be that I didn’t even notice over the fun and excitement I felt during the ride. I love skyrush, I was sad that it wasn’t open when me and my family went, but good news it’s open again! Reply AngoraCat August 29, 2019 I rode it today and knew I couldn’t be there only one who had thought that the name ThighCrush was more fitting. It’s really a shame. I rode in the front row, left center. I could feel the restraints tightening as the ride progressed and eventually crushing them. Regarding restraints, these look like the ones on Apollo’s chariot at BGW and other similar rides, but those are comfortable. I hope Hershey can fix this. This ride wasn’t open when I was here last month and I was really looking forward to it today. But due to the restraints, I only rode it once. Great article! Reply Joel September 14, 2019 Sad to hear that Skyrush is still so uncomfortable. You’d really think that they’d re-fit the cars with better restraints, but maybe it’s not that easy. I’m sure the park has received complaints or seen the feedback online. Reply Bobbie September 16, 2019 I rode Skyrush again several weeks ago just because it was there. It seemed almost obligatory. This proved to be the most painful ride to date; the restraint hurt even before the train was dispatched and only got worse during the course of the ride. Also, whereas the ride ops usually loosen the restraint when the train is sitting outside the station, waiting for the train in the station to be dispatched, on this occasion they did not. It’s an unfortunate situation but at this point my inclination is to skip Skyrush altogether when visiting Hersheypark. Reply Amanda September 1, 2019 I LOVE coasters. I’d consider myself an experienced rider (47 yo). I’ve been to Disney and Universal 6 times. I LIVE for coasters. I finally got to ride coasters at Hershey this summer (my son didn’t want to ride until now). I was filled with glee on the Bear. Loved Fahrenheit. Loved Stormrunner. However, Skyrush was not a favorite. I tried as I might to “keep my head back” as I know that’s a must for me with some neck issues. I couldn’t hold anything in place on Skyrush. My head was wobbling all over the place, and it hurt for a few days after. Normally, I’m one screaming with delight; nonetheless, Skyrush had me screaming for it to be over. Will not do it again with the restraints they have in place. Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.