Heide Park25th July 2004
We began our morning at Heide Park with a thirty minute exclusive session on Colossos (#303), the tallest wood coaster in Europe. I was more than a little apprehensive about riding, given that the only other really tall wood coaster in the world is extremely uncomfortable. Fortunately I need not have worried. Heide Park's wood coaster was the prototype ride for a new prefabricated track system, and it works brilliantly. There was scarcely a bump to be felt anywhere on the ride other than those caused by the lap bars during the more powerful airtime moments. When our session was over we were given the opportunity to walk around the back of the coaster to take photographs, and while the weather was far from ideal the thought was still much appreciated.
The only person in the entire club who enjoyed the Vekoma-built Limit (#304) was my brother, probably because he's never had the opportunity to ride a proper inverted coaster. There are five production suspended looping coasters in Europe, and the best thing to be said about having this one gone is that I've only got two left to do, one of which is later this week. Hopefully no more will appear!
Our next port of call was on Scream, a giant drop ride retrofitted onto a tower that was once an observation platform. It has two distinguishing features that set it apart from the other rides of its type; first, it is set on a hill which greatly enhances the sensation of height; second, it has a dramatic (and brilliant) sound track which sets the pulse racing. Both of us liked it a lot.
As we walked down the exit ramp we ran into some more club members. Niki was trying to pluck up the courage to ride Scream but was having serious difficulties. Having been there myself it fell to me to ask what the problem was, and much to my surprise it turned out not to be the height. Rather, it was the dread of the split second lurch when the catch mechanism releases the car. I pointed out that she'd previously ridden an S&S tower ride, with a downward shot that was likely more powerful than a regular drop. She remained unconvinced, though eventually we managed to talk her into it. We ended up doing several more laps; it seemed that she wanted to make sure that a ride of this type would never scare her again.
My favourite type of coaster at the moment is the bobsled, and thus it was a particular pleasure to discover that the longest such ride in the world can be found at Heide Park. Schweizer Bobbahn (#305) was operating with four trains today, yet the staff were somehow managing no stacking whatsoever. Each of these trains was themed after a different country, making us speculate if the German train might have been faster than the rest; unfortunately we didn't get the opportunity to test the theory. A section of the ride layout was fully enclosed, albeit not in a completely pitch black fashion like its brother at Cedar Point.
During our lunch break we were addressed by the park manager, who somehow managed to field a large number of questions from the floor without revealing any information whatsoever; perhaps he might have been a politician in another life. It was as we were leaving lunch that we hit the first damp note of the day (pun intended); the weather, which had been looking gloomy all day, finally let go in spectacular fashion. A quick trip up in the Panorama-Turn observation tower killed a few minutes, but after sheltering for twenty minutes we gave up and decided to buy ponchos and keep going.
As we were already pretty wet we decided it was as good a time as any to do the water rides. Heide Park has two log flumes, the first of which is Wildwasserbahn. I wasn't overly taken by this, or the nearby Mountain-Rafting (which had far too many boats, everything being very close together). Conversely, the imaginatively named Wildwasserbahn 2 was brilliant; it took advantage of the terrain to somehow include a massive lift that must have been something approaching two hundred feet. It is impossible to see from the outside how big the ride actually is.
We got in a quick lap on the powered Grottenblitz ride, before braving some wet rides on Colossos in the rain. The experience was still fantastic, but it has to be said; riding in the rain on a coaster doing 75mph is pretty painful. On the plus side, at least it got my glasses clean!