PortAventura to debut Europe's tallest coaster in 2012

PortAventura to debut Europe's tallest coaster in 2012
The Shambhala hyper coaster at PortAventura in Spain. (PortAventura)

PortAventura theme park in


plans to debut a record-setting $35-million mountain climbing-themed roller coaster in spring 2012 featuring a series of camelback hills, pitch-black tunnels and a water element.



The roller coaster, or "

montaña rusa

" in Spanish, is expected to be named after the mythical Tibetan kingdom of Shambhala, according to


The Bollinger & Mabillard-built ride will be the tallest (249 feet) coaster in


with the continent's longest drop (256 feet). The inversionless coaster will feature five airtime-filled camelback hills, each over 70 feet tall.

At 83 mph, Shambhala will be the fastest hyper coaster in Europe, besting

(79 mph). Both coasters will be surpassed speed-wise by the 135 mph

when the compressed-air-launch coaster opens in 2012 at Nurburgring motorsport race track in Germany.

Located an hour south of Barcelona,

will face new competition for Spanish and European tourists when

opens in 2015 on the Mediterranean coast.

Shambhala marks the first new coaster at PortAventura since the 2007 addition of

, a hydraulic-launch coaster with seats that straddle the track.

The new Himalayan expedition-themed Shambhala coaster will be built next to the eight-inversion

, a 1995 B&M coaster in the China section of the park.

PortAventura officials plan to release additional details about the new coaster over the coming months, alluding during the initial announcement to ride elements that include a mountain lake and dark tunnels.

B&M introduced a hyper coaster in 2009 at

in Ohio called

that features a splashdown section of the ride where water sprays as the train passes over a man-made lake.


hyper coaster built by B&M at

in 2007 features a tunnel that covers the ride's lift hill.

Screamscape reports Shambhala will include a double-helix spiral at one end and a horseshoe turnaround at the other.