Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Gravity Group Flips Mt Olympus Wooden Coaster 360 Degrees


Cincinnati, OH, USA — For the first time ever, a wooden roller coaster is being sent upside-down through a corkscrew loop using a traditional wood track.  This happens on a ride called Hades 360.  Hades 360 opened on Saturday, May 26 at Mt. Olympus Theme Park in the Wisconsin Dells, WI, USA.

The ride features a corkscrew that twists riders upside-down and on an 110-degree overbanked turn.  Previous attempts to send wooden coasters through a corkscrew have used steel as a primary structural component of the track rather than just a running surface for the wheels.  Hades 360 is unique because it uses a completely wooden track, making it the only wooden tracked inversion in existence.  It was designed by The Gravity Group, a Cincinnati-based engineering firm.

Hades originally opened in 2005 as one of the world’s largest wooden coasters, featuring 1,400 feet of underground tunnels and the steepest first drop on any wooden coaster.

The decision to add an inversion to Hades resulted from a discussion that engineers from The Gravity Group had with Nick Laskaris, owner of Mt. Olympus Theme Park.  Work on the ride’s turn-around was being proposed and rather than merely reprofile the track, it was decided to try something completely different…and Hades 360 was born.

“Since the 1990s, we had been talking with Nick about going upside-down on a wooden roller coaster,” said Chad Miller, an engineer at The Gravity Group.  “Fast forward to today and we have all the tools required to make it happen, from our new Timberliner trains that can handle the corkscrew’s rapidly twisting track to the sophisticated computer programs required to design just the right track shape.”

Special attention was given to the structural framing of the ride.  Miller said, “We wanted to maintain the feel of a wooden roller coaster with trussed structure flying past you as you go through the roll.  At the same time, we wanted to give the structure an open feel and so we cantilevered the track so there is nothing below you when you are upside down.  The result is something quite unique and thrilling.”

Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleimanhttp://wwww.themedreality.com
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, ThemedReality.com takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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