(Editor's Note: VertiGo was removed from Cedar Point before the start of the 2002 season. For more information about its removal, please search the News section.)
If you're in search for a scare then look no further. Cedar Point has recently built the perfect ride to give any thrillseeker a good scare. VertiGo, the newest Challenge Park activity is not your average thrill ride. It packs a powerful punch, launching those daring enough to take a seat nearly 300-feet at speeds reaching 50 mph!
VertiGo is a brand-new thrill ride concept designed by Utah-based S&S Power, world leaders in vertical thrill rides. Stan Checketts, founder and CEO of S&S Power has an impressive collection of thrill rides under his belt thanks to a few of his amazing ideas.
In the past decade the company has become best known in the industry for their adrenaline pumping vertical thrill rides, called the Space Shot and Turbo Drop. Cedar Point's own PowerTower, a four-tower dual Space Shot, dual Turbo Drop, is just one example of the many S&S ride installation around the world.
But the company is not limited to vertical drop rides. Earlier this year S&S launched their way into the roller coaster market with the installation of their Thrust Air 2000 coaster at Paramount's Kings Dominion. HyperSonic XLC, debuted with fanfare as the world's first compressed-air launched roller coaster.
Type of Attraction:
Vertical Thrill Ride
Tower Height: 265 feet
Number of Towers: 3
Top Speed: 50 mph
Three Unique Ride Experiences
Minimum 52 inches
Cost Per Ride:
$10 per person
S&S Power, Inc.
This latest thrill ride from S&S is nothing short of another masterpiece from a company that seems to be on a roll. This year there will be three installations of this new thrill ride starting with the first at Six Flags Magic Mountain
in Los Angeles. A second opened shortly after at Cedar Point
in Sandusky, OH and a third will open this fall at Knott's Berry Farm
in Southern California.
VertiGo, as it's called at Cedar Point is one hair-raising thrill ride. The appearance alone is enough to keep the timid standing on the walkways below. But if you're an adrenaline junkie or if you happen to be the type of person who thrives on fear then this is your ride.
Suspended on steel cables from three 265-foot towers is a ride vehicle that looks like an oversized triangular shaped model rocket. Six passengers may ride at once, each seated on one of six individual seats, paired together, facing outward on the vehicles three sides.
One thing that makes this ride so amazing is the design or lack of a harness. The simple design consists of four straps each with metal locking pins joined by a diamond shape canvas that rests on your chest after it's slipped over your head.
Ready to board the rider straddles one of the seats and each of the four pins is locked into place on the vehicle. One is secured directly behind your back, another is pinned down between your legs and the other two are locked in under your arms on each side of you.
If you think you're going to be dialed in and unable to move an inch after being locked in you're in for a surprise. You're actually left feeling quite free and loose. Sure you may be secure to ride, but it's unlikely you'll feel that way!
After a final check of your harness you're ready to go. Three, massive steel towers surrounding the launch pad each support one of the steel cables attached to the vehicle. Before launching you into the air, the vehicle is first hoisted a few feet off the ground. Now you can try to prepare for what's to come, you can even try to hold on to what little you can...but whatever you do it'll likely not help.
With no warning the compressed air kicks in and the three steel cables pull the vehicle straight up reaching a top speed of 50 mph until the vehicle peaks out above the towers at nearly 300-feet. By now you're either silent and praying, screaming your head off, or enjoying in the view, as I did... or maybe not.
Before you even can take in the sights the vehicle begins an incredible stomach releasing freefall down to the platform where you began. Never fear the descent is slowed to a stop just in time to avoid a one on one with the concrete floor. If your adrenaline by now is not free flowing then something is really wrong.
Now there is a decision I forgot to mention that you've got to make before the launch. One thing that is unique about VertiGo is the fact that riders have the ability to choose from three different ways to experience it. Yes, you're going to have to choose your poison.
The first Hot Rocket, as it's called keeps the riders in the upright, seated position throughout the entire ride up and down. It's probably the easiest way to ride and the one recommended for beginners or the timid.
Cosmic Flip, keeps you in the upright position for the ascent, but as the ride reaches its peak, the seats tip forward 150-degrees to provide a "nose-dive" sensation for the descent.
And finally there is Big Bang, where you're flipped forward 150-degrees shortly after launch and travel through the apex and descent in the upside-down position! This is the "expert" mode for all the adrenaline junkies.
Now I've had to opportunity to experience both the Cosmic Flip and Big Bang and if you're one to enjoy a mid-ride surprise then I suggest you dial in the Cosmic Flip...it's the mind screw mode if there is one. When you're 300 feet in the air the last thing you'll want to do is move and the flip forward will have your heart skipping beats.
For those with a fear of heights then Big Bang is your game. The nose dive position for the ascent and descent is the way to ride should you want to push your limits.
VertiGo, is an excellent addition to the exciting line up of rides and attractions at Cedar Point and the Challenge Park. As Dick Kinzel, president and CEO of Cedar Fair, L.P. said, "This ride is incredible!" and we'd like to second that.
So is VertiGo the answer... well if you're in the mood for a scare or adrenaline rush it certainly may be.
Photos by Eric Gieszl. Copyright © 2001 Ultimate Rollercoaster.
VertiGo logo courtesy of Cedar Point. All rights reserved.