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Twisted Colossus

And 2015's "Most Improved" Trophy Goes To...

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Do you need me to tell you how awesome Rocky Mountain Construction is? How RMC's "IBox" steel track technology should win Nobel Prizes for Alan Schilke and Fred Grubb in the Physics, Literature and Peace categories? Of course you do not need me to tell you these things.

If you are reading these words, you're the kind of sharp, well-informed enthusiast who has already pored over a gazillion ecstatic tributes to New Texas Giant, Iron Rattler, Medusa Steel Coaster, Wicked Cyclone and Six Flags Magic Mountain's own Twisted Colossus. You have probably ridden one or two of RMC's extreme-makeover "hybrids," perhaps even all of them by now.

So why am I bothering with this little report? Because Twisted Colossus is that incredible. Rocky Mountain took a ride that was overdue for a mercy-killing and turned it into the best coaster at Magic Mountain, full stop. And we must proclaim the glory of RMC, over and over, until every last honked-up, square-wheeled, neck-snapping, rib-cracking rattletrap goes under their knife as well. I have a list, if anyone is interested.

First, please enjoy the official Season Pass on-ride video:

And you can listen to a whole lot more about Twisted Colossus in TSPP Episode 302, "PressPass 2015."

Here are some photos from the media event:

It was another postcard-perfect Southern California morning: sunny skies, warm, low humidity, a gentle breeze, man, I AM SO SICK OF THIS GODDAMN BEAUTIFUL WEATHER. Everyone east of the Rockies, feel free to send me hate-mail; I deserve it. Hey, isn't that Johanna and Rick of the kick-ass Theme Park Adventure standing right in front of me?! Why, yes it is!

This very percussive band threw down a proper groove while we waited for the unveiling of the park's new "Screampunk District."

Away with the balloons, and...!

TAA-DAA! (There were some fireworks, hence the post-detonation haze.)

On top of the praise for the coaster, I want to extend my deep gratitude to Six Flags for the creative effort out here as well.

By the way, this is a shot taken a couple of days later, on Memorial Day Saturday, when Twisted Colossus opened to the public; note the extended queue growing past the main courtyard.

Haven't seen people lining up for Colossus like that in a long, long time, right?

In recent years, Magic Mountain has made some confident strides towards becoming an honest "theme" park, starting with the DC Universe section and continuing with this steampunk-infused overlay to what was once the "Colossus County Fair."

I can't imagine why I would ever own a tractor, but I will most definitely trick it out like this, if and when I do own a tractor. Mad pimpin'.

They don't need a ton of immersive theming here – no one goes to Magic Mountain hoping to get lost in a world of wonder and imagination. But almost all of us enjoy ourselves more when we feel like we've fallen down the rabbit hole a bit, when we feel like we're characters in an adventure outside of our ordinary lives.

Even just a teeny, tiny, little bit.

And as I've said before, I get a kick out of steampunk's retro-tech look, so all the new scenic doodads have my stamp of approval.

Someone had a good time putting all this together and it shows.

Fun stuff.

(That is one of the great things about steampunk: with some imagination, you can "dress the set" pretty inexpensively if you have to. A few trips to the hardware store and the junkyard, and boom, you're on your way.)

Even the new restroom gender icons, very nice! A little of this care and affection in one or two more corners of the park, and Magic Mountain could be looking as good as it ever has.

Anyway, on to what SFMM really does better than any other park in SoCal: bringing the OMG.

Bonnie Rabjohn, the Park President, primed the crowd before cutting this puppy loose. SPOILER ALERT: Note the confetti cannon on the right.

And behind her, the business end of this machine. Cray. Zee.

I don't recall the names of the three gentlemen standing next to her, but I believe they are all part of Magic Mountain's engineering staff, so put your hands together for those fine fellows. And that's RMC's Fred Grubb waving, on the right. He's a superhero, love that guy.

With a pull of the lever...

...the inaugural train went out, a moment I had been looking forward to for years.

KAPEW! PFFFSSSH! KAPEW! Then the second train went out and we got to watch them race.

Colossus is dead...

...long live Twisted Colossus!

Along with some more rad steampunk accents, the queue includes this helpful infographic comparing the old layout to the new; you can see how much of the old they got rid of. Colossus had a lot of flavorless, chewy bits; Twisted Colossus is all tenderloin.

This was another little touch I really appreciated, these pressure gauges above each row lane.

And the new trains, come on. Aesthetically, ergonomically, in every way, they simply crush the old Morgan tubs that once befouled these parts. (Of course, the over-the-shoulder restraints are a real drag oh wait there aren't any. No, but seriously, you hear what I'm saying, Magic Mountain, right?)

Bad news, kids under 48" tall: they took the plans for Twisted Colossus Junior and just added them into the pre-lift section. I don't have a picture of the monumentally silly "twisted hops" that you bounce and giggle over on the way to the main event, but they are Fun with a capital F. Who came up with that idea? Alan? Roger? Someone at Magic Mountain? Whoever, well done, sir or madam, well done.

So here's the thing about the racing. Yes, it's a bit of a bummer that you're not guaranteed a neck-and-neck run with a second train every time. Not even every other time.

When you go solo, it's still mindblowing. That said, when you get lucky, damn, it is something else. It's kind of like... I'm searching for an evocative simile here... it's kind of like... can't think of one. Anyway, the point is: Twisted Colossus rocks your socks off under any circumstances. Racing, though, that's what this thing is really built to do.

The first time we lunged over the top of that nearly vertical 128-foot dive, I finally understood how magical this iBox rail system is.

It is supremely magical. They don't make butter this smooth. And if you're not gobsmacked by the speed at the bottom of the drop, you sure will be when the train rockets over the little airtime hills just after. No matter how hard they staple you in, you're still feeling a strong, cool breeze under your ass going over those hills. "If this is foreplay, I'm a dead man."

Remember those slow, flat, boring, super-stupid outer turns? (I really hated those turns.) They are so gone. We fly up, drop a bit, then rise again into the "High 5 Banks," where, on the blue course, we lean into the turn, all the way over. The lateral float up in this element is dazzling. And at the whirlwind velocity we're traveling, the train on the green side looks like it's this close.

Down, up, and then way down, we missile through the structure, gleaming white bents a blur all around us.

We hurtle across a tasty little speedbump, and then soar over a much bigger hill where – if the gods smile upon you – you'll be able to look up and see a fully inverted trainload of people reaching their arms down towards you. That is a moment of transcendence.

And then we get to do the flipping, gliding through a Zero-G Roll, reaching "up" to make contact with the train below. What a dance.

Head spinning, gasping for breath, still in the afterglow of the g-force riot your body and soul has just survived, wait, what the hell, there's still a little shocker on the last turn, the "Outward Banked Floater," holy crap, this is already ten times the ride Colossus used to be.

And it's only half over.

The rails go green and we assault the summit a second time.

That delightfully steep, silky-smooth mega-drop and the airtime payoff in the valley are just as stunning the second time around. Everything else that follows, however, is a whole new world of awesome. The blue side is just a warm-up lap.

As wicked as the High 5 Banks are on the blue side, the green is far crazier because the tracks warp horizontally against the turn. Just look at the hair action, the blond and the brunette towards the back of the train. That is how insanely fast this coaster tosses you from one direction to another.

And the green course's double-dip on the way down from the High 5, it's a mechanical bull cranked up to "murderous rage."

Then we sail into the Top Gun Stall, rising and inverting over the blue train. We are upside down for a good half-hour. Just hanging there, looking "up" at the folks yelling and screaming a dozen or so feet "above" us. On the Sick scale, this is Ebola sick.

We resume somewhat normal forward progress to let the blue rail folks go topsy-turvy and then make the final double-up dash to the brake run.

As we discussed in The Season Pass report, after a few consecutive rides, both Doug and I needed a little time-out on solid ground. For as smooth a ride as TC is, the intensity of the accelerations – all the frantic torquing and spinning and dropping and climbing and flipping – it's about as intense as I want a ride this long to be.

I had so much fun going through the many photos I took; it's just one train after another of people who look like they are having the time of their lives, smiling, laughing, screaming, maybe just one or two who are praying for a quick death. But no one looks bored. No one.

Like I said, best coaster – best ride – at Magic Mountain. Standing ovation.

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