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 Review of Storm Runner @ Hersheypark
0 Rating Posted by: Canobie Coaster on 8/3/2011 9:51:00 PM
During my visits to Hersheypark back in 2005 and 2006, I regrettably could not work up the courage to ride Storm Runner. The height wasn’t a problem at all, as I had already been on Steel Force and Apollo’s Chariot. The launch wasn’t a problem as well since I had already been on the Rock “N” Roller Coaster. Instead Storm Runner’s angle of descent is what scared me. Now that I look back on it, I find my old fear quite embarrassing and silly. Until I finally conquered Dragon’s Descent at Funtown back in 2007, I was too afraid to try any rides with a vertical drop since I figured it would be similar to the drop towers I was also afraid of. Having conquered that fear (heck, I rode Kingda Ka last year), and realized how foolish it was, I finally rode Storm Runner this year and it blew me away. Located in Pioneer Frontier, Storm Runner’s gigantic top hat, Immelmann, and heartline rolls can be seen from almost any location throughout the park. But I just love both how the coaster looks and fits into Hersheypark. The red paint scheme along with the bright yellow trains just work perfectly in my opinion, and I just love how the ride really takes riders on a tour of Pioneer Frontier. In fact, one of my favorite views of Storm Runner can be seen from the parking lot. If one angles themselves correctly, the two smokestacks of the Hershey chocolate factory line up perfectly under Storm Runner’s top hat, which is a very cool sight. Despite the fact that Storm Runner is one of Hersheypark’s most popular roller coasters, wait times are usually fairly minimal for it. During my past visit, Storm Runner was often a 10 minute wait for all seats except the front, which was an additional 20 minutes. The perfectly utilized dual loading platform and ride’s incredibly short duration enable the line to move very quickly. Of all the seats, I definitely preferred the front like I usually do on most launch coasters thanks to the wind-in-my-face effect on the launch. Additionally, I have no problem with Intamin’s over-the-shoulder restraints. While they can be a bit rough on my thighs, overall they aren’t super restrictive while remaining incredibly safe. Once dispatched, Storm Runner slowly approaches the launch track. On the way, an audio recording mimicking a heartbeat plays. Soon, the cable locks onto the car and the recording blasts, “Now get ready. Here we go.” Immediately afterwards, Storm Runner launches riders from 0 to 72 MPH in 2 seconds. While not as powerful as Kingda Ka’s launch in my opinion, Storm Runner’s launch is still incredibly powerful and it pinned me to my seat. In the front, the skin on my face really gets pulled back, enhancing the thrill. Without a doubt, the launch is Storm Runner’s highlight for me thanks to its speed and sheer intensity. Following the launch, Storm Runner puts its speed to good use. First, Storm Runner treats riders to an incredible top hat. While cresting the top hat, riders towards the front get some incredible floater air. Then the following vertical plunge completely ejects back seat riders. Next, riders experience a thrilling Immelmann. Despite being gigantic in size, the inversion still packs a mean punch unlike some of the larger Immelmanns (cough: Alpengeist: cough) I’ve experienced on B&M coasters. Storm Runner then zooms up a massive hill, providing a decent pop of air in the front. Following that is a very distorienting heartline roll. Not only does the inversion provide a little bit of hang-time, but it really allows one to realize just how high they are off the ground. Without pausing, Storm Runner then enters its third and final inversion, its legendary flying snake dive. What starts as another heartline roll quickly transforms into a dive loop of sorts midway through. Really it’s a pretty hard inversion to describe since I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. But due to the inversion’s convuluted nature, it is both incredibly disorienting and fairly forceful. Still disoriented from the prior inversion, riders are then treated to Storm Runner’s final element, an oddly banked and elevated trick track of sorts. Prior to riding, I was afraid that this element would produce some undesirable headbanging, but fortunately it is very smooth, and as a result it’s really enjoyable. Following that, Storm Runner storms into the brake run, ending the ride. Unlike Kingda Ka, which is a true one-trick pony, Storm Runner provides a full ride experience and as a result, I ended up liking it more. While Storm Runner still is incredibly short in duration, the ride is an incredible rush from start to finish thanks to its incredible launch and arsenal of elements. Not only did Storm Runner become my favorite attraction at Hersheypark, but it also became one of my favorite steel coasters anywhere thanks to the combination of a powerful launch, decent air-time, and forceful inversions. A visit to Hersheypark is incomplete for a thrill-seeker without riding Storm Runner several times. Again, make sure to grab the front seat at least once to feel the full power of the launch. But most importantly, don’t make the same mistake I made in waiting a couple of years to ride this incredible attraction. Favorite Part: Launch Best Seat: Front (1:1)
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