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PortAventura to debut Europe's tallest coaster in 2012

Los Angeles Times staff writer

PortAventura theme park in Spain 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.

> Photos: Spain's PortAventura unveils 2012 roller coaster

The roller coaster, or "montaña rusa" in Spanish, is expected to be named after the mythical Tibetan kingdom of Shambhala, according to Roller Coaster Database.

The Bollinger & Mabillard-built ride will be the tallest (249 feet) coaster in Europe 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 Europa Park's Silver Star (79 mph). Both coasters will be surpassed speed-wise by the 135 mph Ring Racer when the compressed-air-launch coaster opens in 2012 at Nurburgring motorsport race track in Germany.

Located an hour south of Barcelona, PortAventura will face new competition for Spanish and European tourists when Paramount Park Murcia opens in 2015 on the Mediterranean coast.

Shambhala marks the first new coaster at PortAventura since the 2007 addition of Furius Baco, 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 Dragon Khan, 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 Kings Island in Ohio called Diamondback that features a splashdown section of the ride where water sprays as the train passes over a man-made lake.

The Hollywood Dream hyper coaster built by B&M at

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