It was about time for me to head back to the airport and catch my flight home. I was lucky enough to ride all of the park’s roller coasters while experiencing some great weather. But first, I had to settle a burning question: Which was the real Boss? Was it the punishing brute that looked fun, but nearly rattled my fillings out? Or, was it a rough, but ride-able gem of a coaster that just needed a little taming? I told myself that I wasn’t going to leave until I had an answer…. I got my answer.
Anticipation & The Hike to the Station
As you approach Boss, you’re greeted by a cool entrance. I’m not sure what the ride’s overall theme is supposed to be, but the large stone sign reminded me of some kind of temple or something. Built in 2000, the Custom Coasters International woodie is described as a Terrain Twister. I’d heard very mixed reviews, but as I made my way down the lengthy path, my excitement was getting more and more ramped up.
Boss looks incredible. It lives in a mostly wooded corner towards the back of Six Flags St. Louis. You pass by its neat layout including its large 570 degree helix followed by a couple of small hills on your trek to the station. “Wow! This is quite a substantial monster of a coaster,” I thought to myself. At 5,051 feet long, Boss is the 8th longest wooden coaster in the World. Too bad there’s no record of the longest queues in the World. After walking over the go-kart track during the last part of one of the longest queues in memory, I had found the station. I was glad to see that it was a “hike-on” (instead of a “walk-on”).
Terrain Coaster Gem or Underachieving Bully?
As with most woodies I haven’t ridden, I approached with a bit of trepidation. I sat in the middle-back and embarked. Riding up the lift hill, to the 120′ foot peak, you’ve got a great view of part of Six Flags St. Louis to your left and nothing but the green of the forest surrounding the park to your right. Maybe it was the terrain, but you feel a good bit higher than the stat suggests. The train comes off of the lift, does a little dip and a turn around and then Boss has its way with you.
You fly down the 150′ foot drop and then through a straight section. The train passed through an opening in the ride’s huge support structure and then traverses some banking and dipping at 60+ miles per hour. This is the first of many ouches. Again and again, the train rises up to do a jerky (but at least slower) turn around high in the air and then it plummets you to the ground where it lays in a few good shots as it shakes and jostles you around. At about the mid-point, Boss mixes it up by sending you toward to the helix near the mile-long queue. This might have been really fun when it was smoother, but the roughness continues as the banking and dips just aren’t enjoyable.
By the time I had survived the first two-thirds of Boss, instead of being excited for that helix I had seen earlier, I was dreading it. There was no way to know that those riders I had seen earlier were being pummeled, but that’s what I experienced on two out of three of my rides on Boss. After the painful helix and the last few hills, my body was screaming for mercy. Thankfully, the station brakes gave me my wish.
Verdict: So Much Promise, So Much Pain
I got my answer alright. My first ride was pretty rough, but as a brave roller coaster journalist who was intrigued by Boss’ size, I did a quick u-turn (right by the station thankfully) and rode it a second time. On the second trip I braced like no other, but found Boss ride-able and almost fun. I had more coasters to conquer (like Screamin’ Eagle), so I left.
My third lap right before I left the park sealed the deal for me. Boss is another aging woodie that’s gotten way too rough. The difference here is that this ride has so much potential. I realize why it was mentioned in: Pick the Next Coaster to Get the Texas Giant Treatment. Now that Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Rattler will become Iron Rattler next year, maybe Boss could be next. While Boss is an adventure, it’s not one that I’d recommend for anyone other than a true coaster fan. One local at the park called it her favorite, but I can’t see how. Call me the girly-man name of your choice, but I was bracing throughout most of this ride and can’t imagine calling it a favorite.
The fact that Boss offers some good scenery and an interesting layout while it’s giving you a beat down saves it from a 1 (Demolish) rating. And from a coaster enthusiast’s standpoint, I can really appreciate what it was trying to do. I’ll have to go pretty low, but I’ve settled on a generous “3”. Final Rating – 3.0 (Bad)
Boss is rated ‘TR’ for Traditional. While it’s one of the largest of its kind, it’s still a 2 out of 5 on the Thrill Scale. If you’ve ridden a woodie before, you’ll generally know what to expect.
Do you agree with my rating? Have you ridden Boss? What do you think? Leave a comment below.