Powderkeg

Fact Sheet
Ride Type: Launched, Steel, Sit-down, Non-Looping Roller Coaster
Year: 2005
Manufacturer: S&S Power
Height: 91′
Drop Height: 110′
Speed: 64 mph
Length:
 3506′
Cost to Build:  $10,000,000 USD
Capacity:  1000 riders per hour with three trains (approx).
Height Requirement:
42 inches

 

New for the 2005 season, Powderkeg is SDC’s newest major coaster. The park employed guest surveys over the years prior and seemed to find that a ride for the entire family was in demand, but the park was also keen on keeping the interest of thrill seekers. Thus, SDC put their heads together with S&S and ended up with a ride that squarely pleased both fields. S&S seems to have been chosen for two primary reasons: the use of air pressure to power their rides, providing clean thrills with minimal effect on the environment (something that SDC strives for); and, because of S&S’s new restraint and seat system, riders of almost all sizes can ride. Indeed, riders as short as 42 inches, larger folks, and tall people can all fit in the revolutionary new seats, thanks to the revolutionary way they adjust to the rider’s size. Even better is the fact that these restraints consist of only a comfy lap bar, providing maximum openness and air-time.

What makes this ride even more interesting and revolutionary is its use of old track from the retired ‘Buzzsaw Falls’ Premier water coaster. The lift hill (yes, this is one of the only launched coasters which also employs a lift hill) and some of the track preceding it are from the previous ride. Speculation into the reasons why SDC wanted to save the old track has assumed that re-using it may have lowered the cost of the new ride.

Powderkeg is also revolutionary in that it incorporates the first uphill transfer track system which riders go through upon leaving the station to get to the launch track – somewhat of a feat of engineering.

 

Ride Experience:

Powderkeg starts out with one of the more unusual tricks of any coaster: an uphill track transfer system. The train rolls forward out of the station onto a stretch of track, which moves the train sideways into a themed shack. In the shack, the track lines up with the rest of the ride, a few effects and a voice dialog go off, and the train rolls out onto another stretch of track to be blasted off. The train makes a complete stop, sirens go off, then finally: whoosh! A pillar of fire bursts out of the shack behind the train, as train shoots off with a force that catches everyone off guard. Riders then shoot over the first hill, which provides some major air that lasts all the way down the preceding curved drop. Then riders crest a perfectly parabolic airtime hill, which also provides some major air. An over-banked turn comes next, in which riders fly high into the air, then make a 180 degree turn-around in a fashion that almost sends them upside down. From there the train roars over another hill, but this one ends with another over-banked turn which shoots riders into a low to the ground extremely tight 180 degree turn complete with 90 degree banking. The exitement drops a little at this point, as the train smoothly flies through a long curve stretching through the woods. Coming out of the curve, the trains hits the brakes at the bottom of a mid-course lift hill, then proceeds upwards, giving riders fantastic views of Wildfire and the wooded valleys surrounding the park. At the top of the lift, the train makes a funky turn-around before diving 100 ft downwards into a yet-to-be-completed water effect. The track then shoots upwards, bringing riders into a crazy overbanked helix. Then, unfortunately, the ride is over, as the brake run is all that’s left.

 

Additional Info:

Besides the long curve and lift hill, other remnants from Buzzsaw Falls include an old ride car that is lodged in the roof of the main queue house and a piece of the ride’s main drop which is propped against the side of the same building. The station and main queue areas are also originate from Buzzsaw Falls, with the bridge and shot tower having been added with the PK make-over. The building next to the break run that houses the ride’s maintenance bay was once larger and included the famous buzzsaw effect that leapt out at riders before they entered Buzzsaw Fall’s coaster section. The troughs from Buzzsaw Fall’s water section are also still intact and noticeable.