PowderKeg…..is there another coaster I’d rather ride? Probably not.
This ride delivers in ALL areas: ejector air…lateral-->float…float-->lateral…ripping positive G’s. This is not a tame ride by any means. I had the privilege of getting to ride PowderKeg 22 times Wednesday afternoon/evening. The parks maintenance staff and my co-workers all thought I was a bit goofy….but I just couldn’t get enough of the smooth, forceful ride this coaster provides.
The ride starts by rolling out of the station and onto the switch track. The switch track moves the train laterally uphill to the left at impressive speeds, utilizing two massive counterweights to do the job. The track locks in place and the trains move forward to the launch position. A loud air whistle noise heightens the tension as the shot tanks are pressurized for the launch.
The launch is pure bliss…..not too intense but enough to feel some fantastic acceleration. The track shoots skyward and the first positive G’s pin you to the seat. This first hill is airtime laden. Steep entry and exit and great speed over the top. About 2/3 of the way up the hill the tracks rips from beneath you and you accelerate upwards into the restraint. Negative G goodness. You land softly back in your seat halfway down the backside and the track twists into a right pullout…once again with positive G’s pushing the envelope. Now my favorite moment of the ride…..the track straightens out on the climb giving a nice little lateral push to the left and then the train falls from beneath you into a magnificent float. I love lateral airs….especially when the lateral hits before the air.
The float lasts a couple of seconds and the train rides a valley for the second time. An incredible overbanked turn follows….this turn seems to accelerate the vehicle. Speed is maintained and the visual effects are fantastic. Easily the best paced overbanked I’ve ridden.
The train valleys for a third time and rises up into a float-twist. Just as you leave the seat, the track warps out to the right, maintaining the heartline rotation point and just spinning the track 90 degrees to the left. The turn dives downward to ground level and the track straightens out slightly before ripping you back up to the left into another well banked 180 turn.
After the new track, the train enters what used to be the elongated helix for the old Buzzsaw Falls….although I highly doubt the train used to travel at near these speeds. Right near the end of this long turn, just before the lift hill, the train gets a great dose of laterals to the left. Brace yourself! Definitely very fun but it caught me off guard the first time.
The lift hill is a nice break to the previous 45 seconds of intensity. The trains summit and turn to the left before diving down a nice drop with a hint of airtime in the front hitting about halfway down the face. The train valleys and the front car is thrust forward and up into the second float-twist of the ride. The float transitions into a great positive G descending helix. The trains rocket into the brake run with a nice little pop of air for the front seat.
All-in-all, a phenomenol ride!! I rode a total of 22 times…21 in the front seat and 1 time in the back. Almost every time I was accompanied by 15 of my closest water filled plastic dummy friends. Lucky peeps get to ride this thing all the time.
Front seat vs. Back Seat…..the back gave a slightly more aggressive ride but I prefer the front seat for the extended floats and visuals. I got to ride the backseat at night and during the first hill, a wall of water covered me….then again and again over the remaining airtime hills. I rolled back into the station, soaking wet, to laughing people with cameras. It turns out they wanted to play a joke on me an unscrewed the cap on a water dummy a few rows in front of me. Good times. Rides at night are insane…there are no lights during the course and the sense of speed heightens.
PowderKeg is all about fantastic pacing and variation of G’s on every element. I honestly cannot think of any other coaster I’d rather ride. Sure there are longer, taller, and faster rides out there but the way this thing throws the forces at you and the fantastic pacing is unlike any other steelie I’ve ever ridden. I know many of you will doubt me in my acclaim of the ride because of my affiliations but once you ride you will agree….PowderKeg IS the real thing! Thanks to my coworkers at S&S and the fantastic crew at Silver Dollar City for installing such a wonderfully aggressive ride. PowderKeg will do very well with the public and enthusiast community for years to come. I plan on making the trek to the park again this year. It’s that good!!!