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February 4, 2003

Family Coaster to Open This Summer at Great Escape

Lake George, NY -- A visit to The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom in 2003 will be quite a blast as the Lake George based theme park announced plans Tuesday for its newest ride, a mine train roller coaster called the Canyon Blaster. The Canyon Blaster is the park's sixth roller coaster, catapulting it into a whole new stratum of excitement and entertainment.

At a news conference in Albany, N.Y., vice president and general manager John Collins announced that the Canyon Blaster will be located in the Ghost Town section of the park, just east of another roller coaster, an indoor ride called the Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon. Both the Tornado and the Ghost Town train will be removed to make way for the Canyon Blaster, which spans nearly half a mile (more than 2,000 feet) and rises to a height of 56 feet.

"The Canyon Blaster is an outstanding family ride, which dovetails nicely with our reputation as one of the best family theme parks in the Northeast," said Collins. "With two lift hills, a speed of 45 miles per hour, a run time of more than two and half minutes, and a thrilling double helix to end the ride, the Canyon Blaster will be both challenging and welcoming for many of our guests."

The Canyon Blaster is just the latest in a string of improvements and innovative new rides that have been added at The Great Escape since Six Flags, Inc. purchased the theme park seven years ago. Among the additions are three roller coasters - the Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon, Alpine Bobsled, and Boomerang Coast-to-Coaster - as well as the Skycoaster, Lumberjack Splash wave pool, Paul Bunyan's Bucket Brigade, and an Olympiad style grand prix go-cart track.

When the Canyon Blaster opens at The Great Escape in the summer of 2003, it will mark the rebirth of this steel mine train coaster which was originally manufactured and designed by Arrow Dynamics Inc. more than thirty years ago. (The term mine train is typically reserved for a coaster designed to simulate the movements of a runaway mine train - aligned closely with the terrain, distinguished by small, quick drops and turns). Arrow was commissioned to build the Canyon Blaster for the 1972 grand opening of the Opryland USA theme park in Nashville, TN. For more than a quarter of a century, the Canyon Blaster operated as the Rock n' Roller coaster at Opryland, providing thrills for millions of fans.

However, on January 1, 1998, Opryland shut down and the Rock n' Roller coaster was silenced. Six Flags purchased it and shipped it to the Adirondacks to begin life anew at The Great Escape.

The Canyon Blaster, thus, has something very much in common with The Comet, the wooden coaster that many consider the signature ride at The Great Escape. Just like the Canyon Blaster, The Great Escape rescued The Comet from possible extinction when it purchased the coaster following the demise of Crystal Beach Amusement Park in Ridgeway, Ontario, in the late 1980's. The Comet was trucked across New York state - piece by piece - and reassembled at the Great Escape where it reopened to an adoring public in 1994.

While site preparation for the Canyon Blaster is underway, The Great Escape on Tuesday unveiled one of the cars that will make up the 3-car Canyon Blaster train. Each of the cars will have a distinct color combination: red with yellow and gold trim, yellow with beige trim, and blue with silver and gray trim. Up to two trains will run continuously along a cherry tomato track supported by columns outlined in smoky topaz.

Sporting an aesthetically pleasing and unique design, the Canyon Blaster will be able to accommodate as many as 30 riders at any one time. The minimum height requirement is 42 inches.

The Canyon Blaster is scheduled to open during what will mark The Great Escape's 49th season. The park originally opened in 1954 as Storytown USA, then a five-acre theme park commemorating Mother Goose. Today, The Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom are two parks in one, spanning more than 140 acres of land, featuring more than 125 rides, shows and attractions.

The Canyon Blaster will join The Great Escape's five other roller coasters which include: the Nightmare indoor coaster; the Alpine Bobsled; the Boomerang Coast-to-Coaster; the Steamin' Demon, and of course, the legendary Comet which dates back to 1948 and has repeatedly been selected as one of the world's top ten wooden coasters.