Guest reviewer Aric has returned with another in-depth review. He was one of the first to ride Hersheypark’s new Skyrush roller coaster.
I came to Hersheypark to ride Skyrush after a day spent using Fast Lane at Cedar Point. While in Sandusky, my daughter and I were treated to what essentially amounted to no lines on the big three, Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, and my personal number one, the much loved/maligned Maverick. After journeying the remaining eight hours to Hershey, I reconnoitered myself to extreme rides, getting three on the venerable Storm Runner, and on a former favorite of mine, Fahrenheit. What is the point of all of this? None of these coasters, my favorite included, prepared me for the steel insanity that was Skyrush.
I rode Friday night, as I was one of the 26 Junior Researchers selected by the park to ride the new yellow tracked Intamin before the rest of the public. Along with the other researchers, a bunch of folks had won the opportunity to ride from local radio stations, and we were all gathered as the park closed in a catering pavilion, where a DJ entertained and we were fed pizza. As fun as that was, the coaster was looming over us as we waited for our turn to board. Finally, the announcement was made that it was time to ride, and my ears were spared a re-listen to, “Call Me Maybe” both very good things.
I rode in the second row, in one of the vaunted winged seats. I have to admit I was nervous about the restraints-more on this later-but it fit me quite comfortably in the station. In fact, I was getting used to the new found freedom of no floor and no over the shoulder restraints, when a ride op stapled me in far tighter that I ever would have willfully buckled myself. This indignity was enough to make me temporarily irritated, the second time it happened even more so, I was seriously in as tight as I could possibly get when the train got the all clear, and we roared up the lift hill via Intamin’s awesome cable system.
My hands were up as we crested the hill, and as we rocketed towards the bottom, the impossible happened, I literally felt as though I was coming free of my seat. The forces were nearly indescribable, so I’ll keep it simple. Massive ejector airtime. Not only on the first drop, but over every bunny hill, even on turns. The term airtime machine is overused, I know because I’ve ridden Skyrush, and this is the only coaster I’ve ridden that I think fits adequately into that category, despite thinking I understood the meaning prior to riding.
So far, early reviews suggest comparisons to El Toro, Bizarro, Expedition GeForce, and Intimidator 305. Admittedly, I’ve ridden none of them-though I will be on 305 in two weeks-but that is some serious company to be in. Hershey and Intamin not only have another winner on their hands, they have something even better, a world class roller coaster. Skyrush is beautiful, a joy to ride, and whatever its ranking ends up being, one of the absolute best in the world. A true airtime machine indeed, and an absolute must ride.
For me, this ride can be ranked only one way, as a 10, with a thrill rating of a VERY high 5, this is one aggressive beast, even as smooth as it is. Although Hershey lists 54″ as being acceptable to ride, I’m not sure all kids of that height, even coaster nuts like my daughter, should ride Skyrush, it’s just that crazy. Aric’s Final Rating – 10.0 (Superior)
Here’s a POV video of Skyrush at Hersheypark:
Skyrush is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on the Coaster Critic’s Thrill Scale for of its height and speed that produce a very intense ride.
A Caveat on Skyrush’s Restraints
Already the coaster world is abuzz with complaints over the restraint system used on Skyrush, the most common issue being that they are uncomfortable for some riders. Time to unknot your shorts, kids, these restraints are highly unlikely to be changing anytime soon and were designed like this on purpose. Again, not to overstate things, but there is a reason that they are so tight, and a reason why they aren’t the most comfortable restraint on the block. They are on the train to keep you alive. I’m sure there was a point where using something like I-305 restraints was considered, but with the openness of the trains, some out of the box thinking was in order. The Skyrush restraint controversy is a non-issue to me, because Skyrush succeeds so well at what it does, and if a little bit of discomfort is enough of an issue enough to keep you off of it, then at least the line will be shorter for everyone else.
Varying Views on Skyrush
Aric has quite a different view of Skyrush than what we’ve been seeing from most riders on my early reviews post. What’s your take on Skyrush? Leave a comment below.
Read Aric’s other posts for his take on rides like Fahrenheit, Space Mountain, Maverick & more.
Also see this article from The Patriot-News including reviews from Mike of NewsPlusNotes, ACE members, Aric, and others: “Hersheypark’s Skyrush a Hit Among Roller Coaster Fans”