On a clear, crisp April '97 morning, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
officially pulled the wraps off their new Bolliger & Mabillard-designed
record-demolisher: ALPENGEIST, a beautifully themed, ski-lift-outta-control
inverted rollercoaster. With some help from the Radio City Rockettes(TM)
and their world-famous gams, ALPENGEIST began its reign as the Planet
Earth's tallest and fastest inverted coaster. And like every other
B&M endeavor, this ride is one big yawn.
Quad-Black Diamond of Inverted Coasters
If you thought MONTU was all you could handle, stay away from this
monster. ALPENGEIST adds roughly 45 feet to that former record-holder's
150-foot lift hill. Once you're pulled to that dizzying 195-foot
peak, a 170-foot drop gets you hustling at the "kiss your loose
articles goodbye" speed of 67 MPH. And among the many perverse
pleasures that follow, you'll find Nirvana at the top of a 106-foot
high vertical loop, one more new record for an inverted coaster.
(That's four, total, for those keeping track at home.)
This wicked trip over the river and through the woods ain't takin'
you anywhere near Grandma's house, people. ALPENGEIST is as smooth,
as fast and as exhilarating as inverted coasters get.
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far outside the park, you can see the gargantuan lift hill
towering above the tree tops; it's a sight that'll bring tears
of joy to your eyes. Once inside the gates, make a beeline
for the park's Rhinefeld Hamlet and follow the jaunty accordian
music. There you'll find the base lodge for an Alpine ski
resort. Take a good look around so you don't miss out on the
many amusing touches: trail maps, a ski rental shack, slope
condition announcements, instructor message boards. See, the
story goes like this: you're out for a day of aggro skiing,
and you hop on the chair lift to the summit. But the mountain
is also home to this nasty snowbeast, and it don't take kindly
to strangers, heh, heh, heh...
The careful attention to detail continues inside the loading
station; check out the gorgeous train with those stowed skies
in back. Very nice. And, as expected, the seats are
cozy enough to sleep in, another Bolliger and Mabillard hallmark.
The harness goes down; the belts are buckled; the floor drops
away. Straight out of the station, the lift hill begins to
carry you up and over the landscape, towards the Rhine River.
Hey, look down over there, the yellow trackwork of the Loch
Ness Monster! (Remember when you thought that coaster
Nothing beats the sensation of gazing down past yer knees,
at the ground soooo far below... but you'll only have
a fleeting moment to 1) enjoy, or 2) be horrified by that
sight. The train makes a hard right turn and enters an exquisitely
banked plunge. 170 vertical feet later, you're twisting the
speedo needle past 66, and man, does it feel good!
All that momentum will carry you directly into a gargantuan
Immelman inversion. You'll narrowly avoid stubbing yer toes
on a little ski shack as you head back towards the heavens.
With the soles of your feet getting a little sun, the train
twists to the left and dives down into another little wooden
hut at the base of that 106-foot loop. Up and over, and it's
on to the Cobra Roll, a pretzel-twist of steel that whips
you upside down twice over the Rhine River and points you
toward the opposite end of the course. Savor the forces pressing
you down into your seat - that's right, all 3.7 G's, at 58
Had enough? I didn't think so. The cars race up into a high
speed curve to the left and the ride's mid-point. Yes, it's
a brake run of sorts, but just like MONTU's, there's only
a mild hint of a pause. The action picks right back up again
with a steep dive into another narrow shack. Passing underneath
the footbridge to New France, the train whips into a frantic
zero-g roll for some primo weightlessness, soaring over the
Le Scoot flume ride spillway.
Resist the urge to pull up your legs as the cars plow down
into a snowy little crevice. The course veers to the left
and the train spins up and through a corkscrew element, the
coaster's final inversion. But there's one last treat: the
cars swing onto their sides and navigate a high-speed, 360-degree
spiral. Exiting the spiral, another left turn brings you back
into the station.
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after year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is voted "Most
Beautiful Theme Park " by the National Amusement Park
Historical Association and 1997 will probably mean one more
trophy in the display case. A lot of folks come just to
enjoy the scenery. But you and I, we have many more reasons
to pay this sprawling fun zone a visit. The Big, Bad Wolf®,
The Loch Ness Monster®, Drachen Fire®, Escape From
Pompeii(SM), "Questor ", a wild simulator ride,
Roman Rapids®, and on and on and on. Ya just can't visit
and go home disappointed.
Anheuser Busch Theme Parks and Bolliger & Mabillard
have formed what looks to be a pretty spectacular partnership,
producing first MONTU, then THE GREAT WHITE down at the
Texas Sea World, and now ALPENGEIST. Can we dare to hope
for another joint venture from these folks? Keep your fingers
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logo artwork © 1997 Busch Entertainment Corporation. Reproduced
by permission of Busch Gardens Williamsburg. All rights reserved.
- TRACK LENGTH:
- TOP SPEED:
67 Miles Per Hour
- MAX. G
- MAX. HEIGHT:
- MAX. DROP:
- RIDE DURATION:
3 minutes, ten seconds
- CARS: Three
trains composed of eight cars. Each car accommodates four passengers
1,820 guests per hour
Peckham Guyton Albers & Viets, Inc., St. Louis, MO
DESIGN: Suzanne Sessions, Inc., St. Louis, MO
Bolliger & Mabillard, Monthey, Switzerland
CONTRACTOR: Armada Hoffler Inc., Chesapeake, VA