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 Review of Alpine Bobsled @ The Great Escape
0 Rating Posted by: Canobie Coaster on 7/31/2005 3:58:00 PM
Ah, my first bobsled coaster. I remember back in 2000 being amazed at such a neat concept for a coaster and really anticipating riding this Intamin creation. Well come my visit to The Great Escape, I would find out a serious flaw that plagues this attraction- it’s tendency to break down. While such an innocent looking attraction, this was easily the hardest coaster credit ever for me to obtain in my travels, as it kept breaking down whenever I’d enter the queue. One time a bobsled got stuck on the hill. Another time, it rained. And another time, well, something else went wrong. You get the point! Thankfully enough, I was fortunate enough to get one lone ride in on this rare Intamin bobsled during my two-day visit, but was it worth all the trouble? To sum it up, yes.

Located in the Fest Area of the park towards the back, the attraction honestly doesn’t really fit in all that well with the rest of the area, but I can’t knock the attraction’s appearance. The trough seemed recently painted during my visit with its vibrant, dark pink paint job and all of the single bobsleds looked incredible. Each bobsled is themed to a separate nation of the world with a sleek paint job that corresponds to the specific nation. My personal favorite is the dominating USA bobsled, but really all of them look incredible. But not only does the attraction itself look superb, but the attraction’s entrance looks great as well and the station really has the feeling of a quaint, cozy ski lodge in my opinion.

Now addressing the attraction’s capacity. Well, along with the attraction’s breakdowns and technical difficulties that plague it (though the ride did not break down at all during my two day visit last year, so maybe the ride has settled down), the Alpine Bobsled has an incredibly low capacity to boot. Not only does each bobsled only seat 8 riders, but also the attraction suffers from incredibly slow dispatches. Because of all these factors, on an off-day my wait was around 25 minutes or so, but I can only imagine what lines are like on a far busier day. Therefore, I recommend hitting this the moment that the park opens since you can get 4-5 rides without any wait whatsoever since most people head right for the Comet, water park, or Sasquatch. One more item to note, the cars have very little leg room so taller riders may be slightly uncomfortable.

But did the ride redeem itself for its mechanical and operational flaws? Yes. Once cresting the lift hill, there are a variety of twists and turns that allow the bobsled to freely coast up and down the sides of the trough providing a unique sensation other coasters can’t emulate. After a two quick twists, the ride hits its first brake run. Those two twists are taken at relatively slow speeds, so the swinging is fairly minimal; however, it is a great table-setter for the ride.

Following the first brake run is my favorite part of the ride. Diving off the brake run to the left, the bobsled navigates a steep, curved drop that is the biggest that the ride has to offer. At the bottom, the bobsleds are really moving at a great clip and therefore, the most intense swinging occurs here as the bobsled navigates a quick turn and a tight helix. While I know it isn’t the case, the bobsleds seem to be parallel with the walls of the trough. Then, there is another brake run.

But the bobsled isn’t done quite yet, as there are two more quick sections. Following the brake run is a small drop and following that are some rapid turns. While the bobsled isn’t moving at extreme speeds and the swinging is minimal, the “out-of-control” feeling is still very much present since the turns keep changing our directions. Finally, there is yet another brake run, which is followed by a small drop and a few quick turns to get us to the final brake run, and subsequently the station.

Two quick things that I have to knock the ride on are the brake runs and the ride’s length. First, the brake runs have two negatives. One, whenever the bobsled begins to really pick up some great speed, the brake run kills the momentum. I know why they are there (to increase capacity by allowing multiple trains to be run), but they are still a joy-kill in a sense. Two, as the bobsled approaches the brake runs, rails begin to line the sides of the trough and get narrower and narrower. As a result, the transitions into the brake run can be quite jostling if one is riding in the front or rear of the bobsled. Therefore, my favorite seat on this coaster actually was the 3rd row (second to last row), a rarity for me on any coaster. Second, the ride is relatively short.

The Alpine Bobsled is just one of those attractions that looks undeniably cool and appears like it will provide a highly-enjoyable ride, and ultimately it achieves this for the most part. While the brakes and the ride’s short length do handcuff the attraction, the uniqueness of the attraction and thrilling side-to-side movement make for a winner. In fact, after the Comet, this was my favorite attraction at The Great Escape. Despite a few shortcomings, the Alpine Bobsled is a great family coaster that I recommend for both avid coaster enthusiasts and younger riders since the ride has some great twists and turns, but the lack of any major drops won’t leave younger riders quivering with fear.
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