Colossus is dead. All hail Twisted Colossus, the new king of wood-steel hybrid coasters.
I took a few preview rides Tuesday on the new Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain and left with one overwhelming conclusion: I have a new favorite roller coaster in Southern California.
Magic Mountain converted the aging wooden coaster into the world’s longest hybrid coaster with two barrel roll inversions and a first-of-its-kind-in-the-U.S. “high five” element. The 4,990-foot-long wood-steel hybrid ride combines the twin tracks of the dueling coaster into a single course featuring two separate lift hills and a pair of near-vertical drops.
Twisted Colossus officially opens to the public on Saturday.
For those who remain nostalgic for the old Colossus, that ride no longer exists. Despite the familiar look, Twisted Colossus is nothing like the original.
The new coaster literally sits on the shoulders of the 1978 ride. A new steel track is mounted atop the old remaining wooden structure, which looks a little taller in the middle at the twin lift hills and a little shorter on the two turnaround ends. The only obvious additions appear above the wood structure where the blue and green topper track sits on gray iron I-beam cross braces.
The dual colored track actually serves as a storytelling device, indicating where the first half of the ride ends (blue) and the second half begins (green).
That's right. Twisted Colossus is such a long ride it's actually divided into two acts. After ascending the lift hill the first time and navigating the course, you climb the second adjacent lift hill and take a slightly different journey.
If the timing is just right, a previously dispatched train will climb the lift hill on the track next to you, allowing for a racing duel.
Computer-controlled lift chains will allow Magic Mountain to time the trains for head-to-head runs. The challenge will be dispatching the trains on time to facilitate the duel.
If you ask me, either half of the ride would be more than enough coaster, making Twisted Colossus twice the fun in just one run.
After leaving the station, the train immediately navigates a series of whoop-de-do ground-hugging bumps that serve as an instant reminder that this is not your granddaddy's Colossus.
The clickety-clack of the lift hill lulls me into a false familiarity until our train reaches the crest and everything changes. Gone are the loose give of the track, the side-to-side movements of the trains and the slow-to-a-crawl turnarounds familiar to most riders of the old wooden coaster. Taking their place is a smooth, tight, inversion-filled ride that never lets up.
The 80-degree first drop is more like what I've come to expect from steel coasters like the nearby Goliath.
The first half of the ride is dominated by out-of-your-seat ejector airtime hills and you-better-duck headchopper under-crossings.
Riders pass twice through the two key elements of the ride: the high five and the intertwining inversions.
The high five element -- where the side-by-side trains suddenly tilt toward each other at a 90-degree angle -- makes me think I could actually reach out and touch the hands of the riders in the other train. (I've been assured I can't.)
The intertwining inversions are by far my favorite part of the ride. The highlight: seeing the heads and outstretched hands of the riders in the upside-down train above us.
Twisted Colossus was built by Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction, which has converted a number of wooden coasters into hybrid rides with looping inversions typically associated with steel coasters.
I’ve been waiting to ride a looping hybrid coaster since 2013 when the Rocky Mountain-built Outlaw Run debuted at Missouri’s Silver Dollar City. I can now say the wait was definitely worth it.
Expect to see Rocky Mountain makeovers of other Six Flags wooden coasters in the coming years.
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