Guest reviewer Aric has returned with another in-depth review. He was one of the first to ride Hersheypark’s new Skyrush roller coaster.

Skyrush - Hersheypark - Lift HillI came to Hersheypark to ride Skyrush after a day spent using Fast Lane at Cedar Point. While in Sandusky, my daughter and I were treated to what essentially amounted to no lines on the big three, Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, and my personal number one, the much loved/maligned Maverick. After journeying the remaining eight hours to Hershey, I reconnoitered myself to extreme rides, getting three on the venerable Storm Runner, and on a former favorite of mine, Fahrenheit. What is the point of all of this? None of these coasters, my favorite included, prepared me for the steel insanity that was Skyrush.

I rode Friday night, as I was one of the 26 Junior Researchers selected by the park to ride the new yellow tracked Intamin before the rest of the public. Along with the other researchers, a bunch of folks had won the opportunity to ride from local radio stations, and we were all gathered as the park closed in a catering pavilion, where a DJ entertained and we were fed pizza. As fun as that was, the coaster was looming over us as we waited for our turn to board. Finally, the announcement was made that it was time to ride, and my ears were spared a re-listen to, “Call Me Maybe” both very good things.

I rode in the second row, in one of the vaunted winged seats. I have to admit I was nervous about the restraints-more on this later-but it fit me quite comfortably in the station. In fact, I was getting used to the new found freedom of no floor and no over the shoulder restraints, when a ride op stapled me in far tighter that I ever would have willfully buckled myself. This indignity was enough to make me temporarily irritated, the second time it happened even more so, I was seriously in as tight as I could possibly get when the train got the all clear, and we roared up the lift hill via Intamin’s awesome cable system.

Skyrush Roller Coaster - Hersheypark

My hands were up as we crested the hill, and as we rocketed towards the bottom, the impossible happened, I literally felt as though I was coming free of my seat. The forces were nearly indescribable, so I’ll keep it simple. Massive ejector airtime. Not only on the first drop, but over every bunny hill, even on turns. The term airtime machine is overused, I know because I’ve ridden Skyrush, and this is the only coaster I’ve ridden that I think fits adequately into that category, despite thinking I understood the meaning prior to riding.

So far, early reviews suggest comparisons to El Toro, Bizarro, Expedition GeForce, and Intimidator 305. Admittedly, I’ve ridden none of them-though I will be on 305 in two weeks-but that is some serious company to be in. Hershey and Intamin not only have another winner on their hands, they have something even better, a world class roller coaster. Skyrush is beautiful, a joy to ride, and whatever its ranking ends up being, one of the absolute best in the world. A true airtime machine indeed, and an absolute must ride.

For me, this ride can be ranked only one way, as a 10, with a thrill rating of a VERY high 5, this is one aggressive beast, even as smooth as it is. Although Hershey lists 54″ as being acceptable to ride, I’m not sure all kids of that height, even coaster nuts like my daughter, should ride Skyrush, it’s just that crazy. Aric’s Final Rating – 10.0 (Superior)

Here’s a POV video of Skyrush at Hersheypark:

Note – This video was filmed by the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.

Intense Roller Coasters - For Adventurous RidersSkyrush is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on the Coaster Critic’s Thrill Scale for of its height and speed that produce a very intense ride.

A Caveat on Skyrush’s Restraints

Skyrush Restraints - HersheyparkAlready the coaster world is abuzz with complaints over the restraint system used on Skyrush, the most common issue being that they are uncomfortable for some riders. Time to unknot your shorts, kids, these restraints are highly unlikely to be changing anytime soon and were designed like this on purpose. Again, not to overstate things, but there is a reason that they are so tight, and a reason why they aren’t the most comfortable restraint on the block. They are on the train to keep you alive. I’m sure there was a point where using something like I-305 restraints was considered, but with the openness of the trains, some out of the box thinking was in order. The Skyrush restraint controversy is a non-issue to me, because Skyrush succeeds so well at what it does, and if a little bit of discomfort is enough of an issue enough to keep you off of it, then at least the line will be shorter for everyone else.

Varying Views on Skyrush

Aric has quite a different view of Skyrush than what we’ve been seeing from most riders on my early reviews post. What’s your take on Skyrush? Leave a comment below.

Read Aric’s other posts for his take on rides like Fahrenheit, Space Mountain, Maverick & more.

Also see this article from The Patriot-News including reviews from Mike of NewsPlusNotes, ACE members, Aric, and others: “Hersheypark’s Skyrush a Hit Among Roller Coaster Fans”

Images courtesy of Read Jonathan Hawkin’s awesome Skyrush review and trip report here: Hersheypark 2012 Trip Report

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

79 Responses

  1. Bobbie Butterfield

    Skyrush is without question the most intense coaster I have ever ridden. The angles are like nothing I have ever experienced. Someone who has been following my blog asked how it can be the most intense when it isn't the tallest or fastest and I directed him to a photo of this coaster on another website; now he gets it! I will say something about the restraints. I fully understand why the restraints on this coaster have to be very tight but unless they can be made more comfortable, I cannot see this coaster making any top ten list other than my own. I had the good fortune to be invited to a Travel Channel shoot of Skyrush and survived 11 rides but had to take a break after the 9th because I had switched seats and the restraints were killing me. In fact several people in our group of ACE members had to stop after half a dozen rides because they simply could not take the restraints any longer. The lap bars tighten on every turn and hill; this ride is a real thigh cruncher. And what someone said about the last small hill, just before the train returns to the station, being the worst in terms of discomfort, is right on the mark.

  2. Drew

    Rode this ride 3 times yesterday and had zero pain or discomfort. Most airtime I have experienced.


  3. Merideth Natho

    Shoulder pain may be localized or may be deferred to areas around the shoulder or down the arm. Disease within the body (such as gallbladder, liver, or heart disease, or disease of the cervical spine of the neck) also may generate pain that the brain may interpret as arising from the shoulder…-“‘

    Our personal internet page

  4. DRU

    The pain is not that bad at all. I’m pretty big. 6’2″ 240LBS. The softer material helps and they release the restraints an inch or two right away after your ride ends while your waiting to get back into the station to unload this helps a lot.
    Freakin Awesome ride. My new # 5.
    I never get scared on a coaster. This thing scares me. Just hold on tight!

  5. Thacrrigler

    This is my second favorite coaster and favorite steel coaster. The airtime is unmatched

  6. Unimpressed

    I have ridden well-known and/or record-breaking coasters such Kingda Ka, El Toro, and the new Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point, Ohio. And I laughed with joy on each one. Needless to say, after watching the videos of Skyrush online, I thought it looked really wimpy after the first hill, but I still wanted to try it out. I convinced my friend who is afraid of heights to ride it with me. Afterward, she thought it was okay, and the first words I uttered were “I am never riding this again.” It is important now to mention that I have a very high pain tolerance, so I rarely complain. But not only were the restraints painful, the lack of over the shoulder restraints caused my head and neck to whip from side to side with each and every turn. I believe that my neck whipped at least 60 degrees and at most 90 degrees from the vertical axis where it’s supposed to be. It didn’t matter that my head was back and centered against the headrest (which is also flat as a board, lacks cushioning, and lacks curved edges to keep your head in place). It didn’t matter if I tensed up or stayed loose – I could not control how my neck whipped around. Keeping my head and neck on the awful headrest was like trying to keep your feet grounded on a sheet of ice when your shoes have no tread – impossible. When we got off the ride, my on-ride picture showed me in a grimace from both the neck-whipping and restraints. My friend remarked that she heard me screaming and thought I enjoyed the ride; I told her that if I enjoyed it, I would be laughing like a hyena instead of screaming my head off. I had to explain that the screaming was from how painful it was. I have NEVER been afraid of injury or death on a coaster before, but on this, I was sincerely worried about throwing my neck out, paralysis, or if the ride got more intense, even breaking my neck. I was fricking scared of serious bodily harm. My friend developed neck pain after we got off (whereas I developed it on-ride), and I spent the rest of the night feeling short of breath, nauseous (which never happens- I have an iron stomach), dizzy if I moved my head, and both stiff and painful. I even took Ibuprofen (generic for Advil) to deal with it. About an hour later, my fingertips started tingling and I got really worried, but luckily it went away. So my advice: SAVE YOURSELF: DON’T GO ON IT. This one is now on my blacklist, which only includes 3 other coasters.

    P. S. Regarding the restraints, it was tight to begin with and then the attendant pressed it so tight my legs started going numb from lack of circulation. It was so tight, in fact, that it completely ruined the airtime; I couldn’t even feel it since I was forced into my seat so tightly. It was just severe pain in my thighs and hips. If you want a pain-free, smooth as glass ride with lots of airtime, ride Steel Force at Dorney Park or Millennium Force at Cedar Point. That’s how a coaster SHOULD be.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.