Outlaw Run

Outlaw Run

Anyone within the coaster enthusiast community knows about Outlaw Run, the new wooden roller coaster that’s about to open at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. It’ll be the first wooden coaster to three inversions, including a double barrel roll. On top of that, the layout will feature many elements virtually unknown to previous wooden coasters including some cartoon looking, 90 degree banked airtime turn. Most coaster fans are squeeing at this notion. Hell, I’d be lying if I didn’t think it looked exciting.

Outlaw Run doesn’t seem to be some one off novelty coaster either. Currently two other wooden coasters are being retrofitted to include inversions into the layout. First we have Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, set to become Iron Rattler, which is not only  getting an inversion but won’t even be a wooden coaster anymore. The track is being replaced by steel, effectively making it a steel coaster. The second coaster is Hades at Mt. Olympus Theme & Water Park. The coaster, now known as Hades 360, will remain wooden but have a zero-G roll added into the layout.

So, we have three wooden coasters (well, two, but the general public will say Iron Rattler is wooden) with inversions in 2013. One has to speculate if this trend will continue with newer wooden coasters and if other companies will jump on board. I’m not saying having the occasional looping woodie is a bad thing but if it’s going to stifle the design of more traditional wooden coaster layouts, then I have a bit of problem.

Hades 360

Hades 360

Wooden coasters are meant to thrill riders in a different way. Most major steel coasters give riders an experience akin to a fighter pilot or top fuel dragster driver. Wooden coasters are more like a runaway freight train. On top of that, steel coasters are supposed to be smooth while wooden coasters are expected to jostle riders around. Of course, they’re not all this way. Vekoma SLCs and Intamin prefabricated wooden coasters seemingly defy this logic.

Now, if wooden coasters start to incorporate inversions and other predominately steel coaster elements, then why not just build a steel coaster? They do these things better already! I get it, “looping wooden roller coaster” is a great marketing strategy right now, but if this fad explodes, then inversions on wooden coasters will become pedestrian. At that point, a park would either need to up the ante with four, five, six, etc inversions or just build a steel that does the same damn thing, only with cheaper maintenance.

I like wooden coasters. I like them because they’re different than steel coasters. Because they have a rough and tumble, out of control feel. Because they don’t need inversions to thrill riders! But like I said, if we see an Outlaw Run style coaster pop up occasionally (and I stress occasionally), then I don’t have much of a problem. At least with Outlaw Run, the layout plays into the inversions with crazy dives and strange twists. If we start seeing more “hey, lets slap a loop on this wooden coaster” treatments, à la Hades 360 (or this, or this) then I do!

I don’t know, what do you all think about inverting wooden coasters? I might just be an ol’ negative Nancy on this issue. Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen if these looping woodies take off…

El Toro 360

10 Comments

  • MJ says:

    I guess I kinda feel the same way..to me and probably most of the seasoned park nuts..Im just looking at them as just new steel coasters with wooden supports..which I like for old west theming purposes..but like you said, they will be marketed as wooden looping coasters and the general public will see them as that.. although Hades will be the only true wooden looping coaster..so if a park wants to build a new one out of scratch its fine by me..but what I fear most is that parks will use the re profile gimmick ( Texas Giant, Iron Rattler) as cheap ways to improve an aging wooden coaster instead of really putting work into it to keep it running like new as we are seeing every year with rumors of other older six flags woodies possibly getting rebuilt.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      I actually don’t mind rehabbing to the ‘Iron Horse’ track style that Rattler and Texas Giant have gotten. Mostly because those two coasters were at the point where re-tracking probably wouldn’t have done much. Even if it did, they still would still be seen in a negative light by the general public because re-tracking means nothing to them. lol

      Now, if they start turning Rolling Thunder, American Eagle, or Colossus into steel coasters, then they’d be going too far. It’s like it needs to be reserved for those massive wooden coasters that have aged poorly. Mean Streak at Cedar Point comes to mind as a coaster that would do well with a steel makeover. Hercules at Dorney Park would have also been a great one to turn steel, but that’s been gone for nearly 10 years now.

  • MJ says:

    I definatley agree about Colossus and American Eagle.that would be just awful.. wouldn’t mind Mean Streak getting a make over..maybe The Boss too..Son Of Beast may have been a good candidate too

    • DoD3Brian says:

      I think I’d keep The Boss the way it is. Re-tracking and some new trains would probably serve it well. Maybe put on some Timberliner trains. As much as they look like they should be on steel coasters, they’re apparently pretty smooth. I have a feeling Six Flags will just let Rocky Mountain Construction have a go at Boss though.

  • MJ says:

    as long as they dont lay a finger on Screaming Eagle!..lol

  • DeMickeys says:

    I don’t think that the classic wooden coaster is being threatened by these new versions. They will always be around and (hopefully) parks will keep building them. I see it more as a hype. It is new and everyone wants one.

  • CoDAce says:

    i have respect for you sir, i’m against Hades 360 for their whole, ‘let’s make a ‘new’ ride out of something old’ and IMHO it should be a crime to turn a tradtioinal wooden coaster into a looping one,and Mount Olympus is my home park BTW and Zeus NEEDS work done, after getting off of Zeus the first time i thought that i had broken a rib.
    and then there’s the name, really, couldn’t you come up with something better than slapping 360 onto the name, how about ‘Wrath of’ or ‘Revenge’? And when i hear 360, i don’t thnk of inverts, i think of the SINGLE nolbiest thing in Call of Duty, trickshotting where people take sniper rifles and jump from a places and spin around WITHOUT aiming and fire a shot and almost always get nothing, and show their lucky shots as ‘beast’ clips, heard of a 720 no-scope?
    And BTW Cyclops is my current #1, and if they throw the old trains on it, they ae dead to me.

  • CoDAce says:

    But aside from ‘Noob 360 no-scope’, I like wooden loopers in general, and i’m VERY sure that there will be a place for traditional wooden coasters since they are SO fun, if they are well-mantained (unlikeMount Olympus except for Pegasus and Cyclops), Phonex is a perfect example of this, it ranked fifth in the world , up there with El Toro, Voyage, and the other Inta in pre-fabs, while i haven’t ridden it, i want to. So I don’t think that classic woodie design is dead, but is NOT the only option anymore, and as long as they don’t star slapping loops onto already existing woodies (ie, GG building one from scratch insted of taking something like Boardwalk Bullet), I’m fine with that.

    • DoD3Brian says:

      That’s a reasonable take on things. I just don’t want inversions to replace double ups or sideways airtime bunnyhops because of the perceived notion that an inversion would hype a coaster more. Like, previously if a park wanted a “thrilling” wooden coaster, the designer would add said elements along with whatever else. Now, a “thrilling” wooden coaster may be one with inversions in place of multiple airtime elements. Down the road it’ll probably shift more towards traditional layouts but in the coming years I’m sure we’ll see inverting wooden coasters of various quality springing up. Hopefully they’ll be more like Outlaw Run and not something like Hades 360.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.