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For well over the past 10 years there was always wonder if and when Hersheypark was going to put in a 200 foot tall coaster. Finally in 2012 the question has been answered and it was more than worth the wait! Built over Spring Creek and crammed into a little area of the park that hasn't seen guests in quite a while, Skyrush focuses on some of the best parts about a hyper/megacoaster; the speed and airtime, INSANE moments of airtime. Climbing quickly with the aid of a cable lift over top of Comet and sooperdooperLooper, Skyrush reaches the 200 foot mark in under 8 seconds and then drops at an 85 degree angle and sharply banking to the right reaching speeds of 75mph, but not forceful enough to cause any grey-outs. Riders towards the back of the train get their first moment of ejector air while the front of the train gets some airtime, but not as severe. An airtime hill tries to send you out of the train while crossing over Spring Creek, then a banked turn to the left, followed by another airtime hill of major negative G's over the creek, and then a banked turn to the right. A Stengel Dive banking right awaits next followed by a twist, banked right turn, another twist, and another airtime hill with enough force to launch you into orbit if not for the restraints. Then it's a left turn over Comet and into the brakes. All this 3600 feet with an over-the-head lapbar and your choice of a standard floored seat or a winged seat. Loading and unloading is all done on the same side of the station and there is no separate load and unload. This will slow down dispatch time, but Hersheypark has installed "spin bins" for each row, allowing you to drop off your goods before the gates even open and collect them as you exit the train without hindering the people next in line as they rotate once the gates open.
I rode a total of 20 times during the event, trying out as many seats as possible. The back is definitely more intense than the front, and I found the left side to vibrate a little more than the right. My favorite seat was probably the front right wing, followed by the back left center, and both winged and floored do offer a slightly different sensation that is worth trying both conditions out. Not really sure I prefer one way of riding over the other.
So far most of the talk from those who have ridden it is the insane amounts of airtime and its effect on the thighs. The airtime is comparable to El Toro or the Mega-Lites, very strong negative G's. It's definitely forceful and many guests won't be able to ride it too many times in a row, but then again how many people have that opportunity to do so. Many of the media there was with their families, and after a ride or two they would sit down for a few minutes or walk around and be back ready to ride 15-20 minutes later. It could maybe use more soft padding on the underside of the restraint, but I found if you just hold on and try to work against the forces of physics and keep yourself in the train, it's not so bad. Skyrush is a sensational ride from start to finish, offering up lots of airtime, directional changes, and speed all in a very open train. Hersheypark and Intamin definitely have another hit on their hands, and after 2004's Storm Runner, 2008's Fahrenheit, and 2012's Skyrush, I'm really looking forward to what the two are working on for 2016 (Aquatrax)
Thanks to Hersheypark for allowing us to attend this media preview. Onto the pictures!
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