Knoebels Amusement Resort
It seems that nothing can last forever. The first month of 1999 marked the end for one wooden roller coaster.
On January 25, 1999, Mister Twister standing helpless for four and half years after the final train sped along the track, was brought to the ground by a wrecking ball. Once the shinning star of original Elitch Gardens, Mister Twister was reduced to ruble in a matter of hours.
But with every end, comes a new beginning, and ironically that was what was happening to this once beloved roller coaster.
Several hundred miles to the east of Denver, the memory of Mister Twister was beginning to live on at Knoebels Amusement Resort. The well loved, family run park was hard at work on the largest project in the park's history.
So after the loss in Denver came the rebirth of a new version of the roller coaster in Pennsylvania. The Knoebels' Twister would not be an exact replica of the 1965 version. Instead, Knoebels would create a new version based on the original. The changes were needed to fit the coaster into a smaller site.
Mister Twister designer John Allen used a unique combination of elements to form the incredible ride. The ride had swooping, diving curves, exciting drops, a dark tunnel and a legendary double helix.
Type of coaster:
Height: 102 feet
Max drop: 90 feet
Top speed: 52 mph
Length: 3,900 feet
2 minutes, 10 seconds
30 Crossovers, Split Lift Hill, Underground Tunnel, Double Helix, Two Swoop Curves
500,000 Board Feet
Number of Trains:
2 - 24 Passenger
Phildealphia Toboggan Co.
July 24, 1999
John Fetterman, Knoebels
Knoebels Amusement Park
Those fortunate enough to ride the original prior to its final run in October 1994, recall a ride with speed, airtime and an out of control sensation.
The Knoebels Twister incorporates many of the original elements to try and retain as much of the original design. The most noticeable changes to the new layout are the addition of a split lift hill with one additional swoop curve and the relocation of the loading station to within the double helix.
Twister stands 102-feet tall and features two major drops, the largest at 90-feet. The track spans 3,900-feet and includes thirty-two separate crossovers as the train screams along at a top speed of 60+ mph.
The ride begins with a climb up the unique split lift hill, which has been folded over and built on top of each other. Taller than its neighbor woodie the Phoenix, Twister peaks out above the treetops for a majestic view of the valley, mountains and Knoebels.
At the top of each of the two lift hills the ride begins with a decent into one of John Allen's signature swoop curves, which Knoebels doubled up on for the split lift.
The second swoop curve accelerates the train enough to deliver some incredible airtime on the first drop. But don't rest now a quick turn on the west end will set the train up for one more sizeable drop with airtime, through the center of this twisted wooden structure.
The negative G's on the Twister continue throughout the ride and notable surprise pop comes at the entrance into the double helix, which in back of the train will certainly have your rear in the clear.
If you're a fan of lateral forces then the Twister is going to be your best friend. The Twister reputation is for intense laterals that are not often found on today's toned down woodies. The massive double helix, the centerpiece of the entire ride, will have you screaming for more and if that is not enough just wait until the final helix before the breaks under the west turn. It's a lateral monster.
One final element that must be mentioned is the underground tunnel. A good tunnel often creates a hand chopping effect with a tight entrance. The Twister takes this one step further by using speed and the smallest possible entrance to create a body chopping effect. Never mind your hands watch you head.
So the fact remains that not everything in life lasts forever...and what remains of the past are only memories. But thanks to the efforts of Knoebels the memory can continue to live on in a new form of a brand new world-class wooden coaster.
While Mister Twister is history, the Knoebels sibling is a worthy successor to keep the memory alive.
A special thank you to Knoebels Amusement Resort and the Knoebels family for their efforts and hard work in recreating a unique version of this classic wooden coaster.
Photos by Eric Gieszl. Copyright © 1999 Ultimate Rollercoaster.
Twister logo courtesy of Knoebels Amusement Resort. All rights reserved.