Ride Review: Copperhead Strike


Located at Carowinds on the border of North and South Carolina, Copperhead Strike is one of several noteworthy coasters to open in 2019.  It’s a dual launch coaster from Germany’s Mack Rides with a whimsical storyline involving snakes and moonshine.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Layout, Elements and Theming

Copperhead Strike features an out and back layout with 3,255 feet of track and five inversions: heartline roll, two vertical loops, a corkscrew and an inverted top hat.  It’s themed after an escape from Granny Byrd’s old farm at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, where there are rumoured to be a lot of copperheads.  The story is this:  Granny Byrd is famous for her prize-winning jam and in order to get the recipe, riders must head out to the old barn where she’s cooking up something – but this time it most decidedly isn’t jam.  Intruding upon this clandestine operation and being discovered, riders are warned to get out of there.  And so they do, in ride vehicles themed after vintage automobiles.   The ride operates with three trains containing four cars seating two across for a total capacity of 16 riders.  The restraint is a lap bar pulled down from overhead.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

The area around the ride queue is notable for signs saying to beware of snakes while the ride queue itself is lavishly themed with farm vehicles, a no trespassing sign and other artifacts from Granny’s farm.  As a disclaimer, I did not go through the ride queue, as I had Fast Lane (which bypasses this) so am relying on secondhand information. (This is one of the drawbacks of having only 4 ½ hours to spend at a park and having to fly home the next day; you miss things by not going through the queue but really don’t have the luxury of time to stand in the queue.) All descriptions and impressions of the ride itself, however, are based on personal experience.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Ride Experience

A ride on Copperhead Strike begins with a slow jojo roll out of the station.  I couldn’t have wished for a better start to the ride, as this is a very cool element offering some nice hang time.  Once out of the jojo roll, the train makes a right turn into the barn in which Granny is up to no good.   There are animatronics in the shed which give a good idea of what’s going on.   It’s time for the trespassing riders to make a hasty exit, and quite appropriately, this is when the first launch takes place.   The train launches from 0 to 42 mph into the first vertical loop, from which it navigates the first of several airtime hills before ascending into the corkscrew.   This is followed by a turnaround and second launch although I didn’t notice much difference in speed during this launch, probably because the acceleration is only from 35 to 50 mph.  What’s different here is that the riders are launched into an airtime hill which provides some really good ejector air.  I wasn’t expecting this and thought it was wonderful.  It’s followed by a couple more  small hills which similarly provide good ejector air.  After that the train enters the inverted top hat, followed by an overbanked turn and second vertical loop.   The remainder of the course consists of a series of twists and turns with another bunny hill thrown in for good measure before the train returns to the loading station.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Final Thought and Rating

Copperhead Strike is a family-friendly ride as opposed to an extreme thrill ride.  It doesn’t feature staggering drops or blazing speed; what it features is an interesting series of elements executed flawlessly.  Anyone, from a neophyte to a seasoned veteran, is likely to derive a great deal of enjoyment from the ride.   The inversions are excellent, offering good hang time, the ejector air is impressive and the restraints are exquisitely comfortable.  The fact that it actually has a story behind it makes it somewhat unusual.   Mack Rides’ superlative Time Traveler, which opened at Silver Dollar City last year, also has a story behind it but offhand I can’t recall riding any other coasters – except for Cobra’s Curse – which fall into this category.  All coasters have themes but storylines are another matter.  Final rating: 9 out of 10.  Video courtesy of Carowinds.

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Copperhead Strike and if so, what did you think of it?