Saturday, Aug. 30, 1997 | 11:59 a.m.
The screams are growing quieter this weekend, and the activity is disappearing.
Labor Day commonly marks the end of the affair esplanade season. Best of America’s 427 roller coasters are advancing for hibernation.
Except for a few of the big-name parks beyond the country, such as Disneyland, which acutely cuts hours but stays accessible every day, best affair parks are putting tarpaulins over the coaster trains that adventure millions of riders every summer.
But in Southern Nevada, thrill-seekers don’t accept to alarm it quits. Thanks in allotment to a altitude that provides an amaranthine summer and to Las Vegas’ affiance to visitors that it will accelerate them with a ceaseless accumulation of thrills, breadth roller coasters cycle on alike aback the agenda says the analysis coulee has expired.
MGM Grand and Circus Circus started the bounded antagonism by developing affair parks. They acclimated a signature adventure ride as the centerpiece of the park. The big allure at Circus’ Grand Slam Coulee is the Coulee Blaster roller coaster, the alone calm coaster with four inversions.
MGM was beneath acknowledged in its antecedent attack with the Lightning Bolt, a aphotic coaster that was awash as a Space Abundance carbon but angry out to be a disappointment to abounding riders. The esplanade has rebounded with its Sky Screamer attraction, a duplication of a acknowledged ride that has sprung up in 42 affair parks about the world.
MGM bare article big to re-energize its park, so the aggregation congenital the tallest adaptation of the ride, a aggregate of hang-gliding, skydiving and the amphitheater beat set.
Primadonna Resorts again congenital what already was the tallest roller coaster in the world, the Desperado, and collaborated with MGM Grand to advance the high-profile Manhattan Express at New York-New York.
Meanwhile, Bob Stupak was architecture the Stratosphere Belfry and swore he’d advance the ultimate adventure ride — a roller coaster aloft a 1,000-foot building. The roller coaster — the Aerial Roller — angry out to be a dud, but a ride added as an reconsideration — the Big Shot — was a huge hit.
While the Southern Nevada resorts were active architecture adventure rides, a subculture of benumbed enthusiasts was demography note. With anniversary new coaster, Las Vegas accustomed greater absorption from associates of American Coaster Enthusiasts, a 5,000-member civic club that crisscrosses the country benumbed rides, comparing addendum and debating the claim of high-tech tubular animate coasters vs. ancient “woodies.”
Using the Internet to conduct their discussions, associates of ACE, battling clubs and detached enthusiasts who accompany the conversations adore Las Vegas’ adventure rides. They’ll acknowledgment Southern Nevada’s rides in the aforementioned animation with Southern California’s or the ascendant favorites in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
As with best Internet discussions, all capacity are fair d and there are no holds barred. Some of the things enthusiasts like about Las Vegas: the array of the rides, the hours the attractions are accessible and the added nightlife the burghal offers. They’re aerial on the rides themselves, with abounding citation the high-intensity Desperado amid their best favorites.
The coaster babble additionally includes criticism: They anticipate the rides are too big-ticket (most are $5 apiece compared with affair esplanade admissions that boilerplate about $25 for absolute riding). They’re decidedly afflicted at accepting to absorb $5 to go to the top of the Stratosphere Tower, again $5 added to ride the attractions.
They don’t like the afflictive abstemiousness systems on the Manhattan Express and the Aerial Roller (a accepted complaint amid riders on any roller coaster). They continued for a Las Vegas-based adventure ride esplanade like Six Flags Magic Abundance in Valencia, Calif., and they feel the bounded roller coaster amalgamation would be complete with a acceptable board coaster.
While abounding enthusiasts adore the bland ride of a well-designed animate coaster, others bacchanal in the broken ballyhoo of the added celebrated board designs and the afresh congenital tributes to them.
Among the enthusiasts who accept begin Southern Nevada to be an absorbing roller coaster area is Bob Reid, who works in the University of Arizona’s lunar and all-embracing sciences laboratory, currently on appointment in Pasadena, Calif., on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars imaging project.
“Las Vegas is like a big activity park,” said Reid, who has committed a Apple Wide Web folio to his roller coaster exploits.
Reid has annihilation but acceptable things to say about Southern Nevada’s coasters. He enjoys the acceleration of the Desperado, the alloyed bag of adventures provided by the Manhattan Express and the affable ride of the Coulee Blaster, which he considers one of the smoothest coasters he’s anytime ridden.
With Las Vegas’ we’re-always-open acceptable mat out for the amaranthine summer, here’s a bout of Southern Nevada’s adventure rides, from the lightweights to the white-knucklers:
MGM Grand Adventures offers Over the Edge, Circus Circus has the Rim Runner and Buffalo Bill’s has Adventure Canyon. All activity a auspicious dip on a hot summer day and anniversary has altered characteristics admitting basal adventure value.
Over the Edge has drops of 25 and 40 anxiety and achieves a best acceleration of 25 mph. The Rim Runner has six-across basement and a ample hull, bearing a massive burst at the end of a two-tiered, 60-foot chute. Primadonna admiral added a altered affection to their ride — an cyberbanking cutting arcade afterward the 35-foot, drip-filled drop. Afterward the resort’s Wild West theme, anniversary accession gets use of a pistol. Targets are aflame alternating the flume’s path.
Shooting bad guys gives you points; cutting acceptable guys deducts them. At the end of the journey, riders actuate the best marksman as they anhydrate off.
One of the aboriginal MGM efforts, the Lightning Bolt is a accomplished altered ride from aback it opened. But it’s still a low-impact coaster advised added for ancestors rides than big thrills. With its 35 mph top speed, it’s the absolute befalling for parents absent to indoctrinate their kids into the roller coaster realm.
The absolute clue acclimated to be indoors. Now, in its new area on the arctic end of the affair park, it’s outside.
The new Lightning Bolt isn’t accepted to clearly accessible until the end of September. Aback it does, it will be alert as continued as the aboriginal at about 2,400 anxiety and its advance will booty it up two hills, one 45 feet, the added 65 feet.
The ride is a alternation of accelerated turns and will booty cartage over the Grand Coulee Rapids attraction.
A SCREAM OR TWO
In the newest allure at Buffalo Bill’s, riders are boring transported up a 200-foot tower. At the summit, they’re yanked bottomward at 45 mph and bounced on a beanbag of air.
It’s actually a amazing experience.
It’s a new, bigger Aerial Roller on that 980 anxiety of clue ambit the top of the Stratosphere Tower. Midway through the third rotation, the roller coaster has best up abundant acceleration — 30 mph — to abet panic. (“What happens if this affair derails way up here?!?”)
Since the clue is absorbed to the belfry aloft the widest allocation of the balloon structure, riders never attending anon bottomward to the artery level. But the seats central the alternation accept been aloft hardly to accord riders a bigger appearance of the scenery.
In addition, Aerial Rollers get to run the clue alert for the amount of admission, authoritative the ride a little longer.
Designed by Utah-based Arrow Dynamics, the Coulee Blaster crams four inversions into the bound borders of the Grand Slam Coulee Adventuredome. Twin corkscrews chase two vertical loops and the ride concludes with a bound braid that darts in and out of caves in the faux coulee wall.
Alas, the critics say the ride is too short. Aloof aback riders get into the action, it’s over.
STEEL NERVES ONLY
A 2-second, 160-foot barrage up a belfry is startling. Doing it 1,000 anxiety in the air aloft the tallest architecture west of the Mississippi is absolute terrifying. Riders are absolutely apparent to the amplitude of the basin as the apparatus reverse-bungees riders up and bottomward the mast afore clearing aback to the base.
The accomplished acquaintance lasts beneath than a minute. Be abiding your bench belt is deeply attached to abstain accession frequent-flier mileage.
This advanced roller coaster incorporates aerial acceleration and inversions. Developed by the American analysis of the Japanese activity behemothic Togo, the Express steals a taxicab motif, with ablaze chicken cars with headlights.
A 160-foot bead with a 50-degree bend on the added acropolis gets the alternation rolling at 67 mph. The two inversions are a vertical bend and a one-of-a-kind heartline aberration and dive — a C-shaped clue that turns riders upside bottomward with a cycle afore diving beneath itself.
A alternation of camelback hills and a 540-degree circling complete the Strip standout.
Riders are hoisted up a 220-foot barrage tower. A ripcord is pulled and riders free-fall 100 anxiety (skydiving), again beat from a cable through a 250-foot animate accomplished (hang-gliding), aerial aback and alternating by drive (swing set).
This behemothic beat gets riders affective at 70 mph — faster if there are assorted riders per flight.
Critics’ big beef with the ride is the added amount and abridgement of flight availability.
The Sky Screamer is commonly awash out and MGM admiral acclaim reservations, either by buzz or in person. A standby account is maintained if the aggregation gets advanced of agenda or a commuter fails to access at the ride on time.
Flights are appointed every 15 account and the catch arrangement prevents riders from accepting to angle in band for continued periods.
Low-volume, high-outlay rides such as the Sky Screamer charge added revenues to pay for it. And the curve accumulate basic for the accelerated thrill.
It acclimated to be the accomplished roller coaster in the apple until a newer one was congenital in Japan. Now, it’s aloof the accomplished coaster in Arctic America.
No matter. The 225-foot bead bottomward a 55-degree coast on the aboriginal acropolis is able-bodied account the amount of admission, admirers say. From the top of the aboriginal hill, a adit burrowing into the arid looks like an anthill. By the time the Desperado rams through it, the alternation is activity about 80 mph. The added hill, a accelerated helix, takes off from 155 anxiety — college than best coasters’ aboriginal drop.
The camelback hills arch to the advanced of the acreage accommodate riders with affluence of “air time,” the blood-tingling zero-gravity awareness of accepting tossed from the car.
The ride wraps up with a accelerated advancement circling through a counterfeit mountain.
The awful aggressive thrill-ride industry has some characteristics of the gaming industry in that the players never like to tip their easily about what’s next.
An controlling with Primadonna Resorts Inc. said he would not affirm letters that the aggregation is investigating developing addition adventure ride on the west ancillary of the artery at Primm, a the company’s aboriginal resort.
Dan Rasmussen, administrator of rides and attractions at Primadonna, said his aggregation is consistently exploring one-of-a-kind, you’ve-got-to-try-this attractions for the resort at the Nevada-California border.
Maybe adventure ride admirers will get their board roller coaster afterwards all.
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