Rejoice! California’s Great America is adding their first new large roller coaster since 2000. Gold Striker looks to be an exciting wooden roller coaster from Great Coasters International. The ride’s layout already included a swooping first drop that wraps around the Star Tower. Now, that drop will be completely covered thus producing (queue the superlative!), “the World’s longest covered initial descent tunnel on a wooden coaster.”
I’ll give 10 points to someone that can name another covered initial descent on a wooden coaster, besides Knott’s Berry Farms’ Ghostrider. None come to mind for me. I just wonder how long they researched that one just to confirm it was the longest.
Okay. Kidding aside, I like this new element. While some argue that the tunnel might have been a new requirement to reduce noise rather than some new innovative addition, I don’t care. I love tunnels! If I had it my way, there’d be at least one on most rides. Several of my all-time favorite coaster moments have occurred on tunnels. The Beast’s helix/tunnel finale, The Voyage’s insane triple down in the dark, and Hades wall-climbing hysteria come to mind. Plus, Great America has mentioned that they’re working to theme the tunnel to fit the ride and make it look like a mine shaft.