It’s starting to look like looping wooden roller coasters are falling from the sky these days. Or should I say coming out of the woodwork? Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. Today, Mt. Olympus (Wisconsin Dells, WI) announced that they’ll be giving their Gravity Group-designed woodie, Hades an interesting overhaul. Next year it will boast a loop and a new over-banked turn as it will be re-born as Hades 360. Queue the marketing superlatives!
With its unique construction, Hades 360 will have:
• The World’s First completely upside down roll on an all wooden coaster
• The World’s longest underground track measuring 800 feet underground
• A 90 degree turn underground in complete darkness
• A 135 degree over-banked turn
• A staggering drop of 140 feet with an amazing drop angle of 65 degrees
• Total length of 4,725 feet
• A 160 foot incline to the top drop
• A blazing top speed of 70 mph
Hades 360 – The World’s First All-Wooden Looping Roller Coaster
Puffery aside, I have to say that Mt. Olympus really has something to brag about. Technically, Hades 360 will not be the World’s first all-wooden looping roller coaster. Remember Loop-the-Loop at Coney Island, the ride I featured this year on National Roller Coaster Day? But when it comes to “modern looping roller coasters” a term used to describe successful steel loopers born in 1970’s, I can’t think of another all wooden looping roller coaster in the past 40 years. We had Kings Island’s Son of Beast, but it’s loop was made of steel. So, even from an enthusiast stand point and during a year when we’ll have a few other wood or mostly wooden coasters with loops (Iron Rattler and Outlaw Run), Hades 360 and it’s notable wooden loop are definitely worthy of some hype.
Since the track will be all wood unlike the Rocky Mountain Coasters, I’m okay with calling Hades all-wood even though the supports are metal. These wooden coaster designers aren’t make it easy for us are they? Here’s a promo video of Hades 360 at Mt. Olympus:
Another Exciting Project from Gravity Group
Aside from the concept of a wooden looping coaster, I’m a big fan of Gravity Group’s roller coasters including Hades. There’s a lot to love in the ride’s layout. I won’t go into detail here, but I was blown away by the whole package that included the action-packed pre-lift hill sequence, a great first drop, and the pitch black insanity of the World’s longest tunnel.
To be fair, I haven’t ridden it since 2006 and from the comments on my review post, it sounds like it’s gotten pretty rough. If there’s some rehab involved in the project and Gravity Group’s Timberliner trains deliver on their potential, then Hades 360 could be quite a roller coaster.
Make Hades a Truly World-Class Attraction
While the park is transitioning Hades to Hades 360, I’d love to see them step up the theming a bit in the station and give that signature ride some love. From the uninterested ride ops who were chilling on the floor of the station as the train raced in, to the spareness of the station itself it just felt like Hades was missing something. Maybe a park should have their best crew on their biggest attraction. I’ve been to smaller parks that provided more enthusiasm from their ride ops for their top ride. This might be a bit of a nitpick and maybe I caught the park on an off-day, but it definitely stuck with me.
Also, it’d be nice if they could give the ride a second train, but I’m not sure if that’s in the cards. This will be an interesting project to watch. 2013 is really shaping up to be quite an exciting year for roller coasters.