Theme Parks

Kentucky Kingdom plans to turn a defunct coaster into a jaw-dropping marvel

A defunct roller coaster at a once extinct but now revitalized Kentucky amusement park will rise from the dead under plans for a triple-inversion steel beast with an awe-inspiring barrel-roll first drop.

Kentucky Kingdom plans to convert the Twisted Twins wood-steel hybrid dueling coaster into the Storm Chaser out-and-back steel coaster in time for the April opening of the Louisville park.

Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction said it will preserve portions of the original steel structure and track layout while adding a new iBox track atop wooden supports. The goal: a combination of the unrelenting intensity and natural feel of a wooden coaster with the glass-like smoothness and breakneck speed of a steel coaster.

Renovated at a cost of $10 million, the new Storm Chaser will be somewhat taller (100 feet), considerably shorter (a 2,744-foot-long track) and a smidge slower (52 mph) than the Twisted Twins. The original dueling coaster featured two trains -- Stella and Lola -- that departed at opposite ends of a single station, traveled on distinctly different tracks and passed each other multiple times.

Both of the Twisted Twins tracks had the same length (3,000 feet), height (80 feet) and speed (55 mph) but offered contrasting experiences. The tamer, pink-colored Lola emphasized zero-gravity hops while the twisting, teal-colored Stella offered more sharp turns and lateral forces, according to Ultimate Rollercoaster. Mitch Hawker’s coaster poll ranked the individual tracks as separate rides while Roller Coaster Database cataloged the coaster with a single entry.

Combining the two tracks into a single ride could have created a 6,000-foot-long behemoth. Instead, Storm Chaser closely follows the Lola layout with the Stella segment largely removed, according to Screamscape.

Storm Chaser is planned to begin with a barrel-roll inversion incorporated into a 78-degree first drop. Throughout the run, riders will encounter a 140-degree stall, an overbanked dive and 13 twisted and off-axis airtime hills. Following a corked roll, Storm Chaser will conclude with a double-up/double-down trick track segment designed to dissipate the remaining speed left in the train while delivering a buzz-worthy finale.

Originally designed by Custom Coasters International, the $5-million ride started life at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in 1998 as Twisted Sisters. After threatened legal action by the heavy metal band Twisted Sister, the park changed the name of the coaster in 2002 to Twisted Twins. In a cost-cutting measure, Six Flags stopped operating Twisted Twins a few years before shuttering the park completely in 2010.

The defunct park reopened in 2014 as Kentucky Kingdom and immediately began renovating existing rides and adding new ones. The Lightning Run  hyper-coaster became Kentucky Kingdom's first new steel coaster in 14 years, and the standing-but-not-operating T2 inverted coaster was converted into T3, or Terror to the Third Power.

Storm Chaser maintains a trend at Kentucky Kingdom of naming its coasters after extreme weather, following in the footsteps of Lightning Run and the Thunder Run wooden coaster. 

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