Cold Weather and Coaster Operations

Heading to Kings Island's Haunt this Friday night, and the weather is looking pretty chilly. No biggie, I'll just bundle up. But I've read a few times that many parks won't run coasters when it's below a certain temperature. This being more of a safety issue (rollbacks) than people not wanting to ride in the cool air. Or so I'm told...

A call to the park says that temperatures will not effect coaster operations. However I've read reports from the recent weekend saying that many of the coasters didn't open until temps warmed up during the day.

With a forecast of 48/35, it makes me wonder if the coasters will be open at all. Anyone have any first hand experience with this? Or perhaps someone who has experience on a maintenance crew can chime in?

Last edited by Danimales,

Ive been to Cedar Point with temperatures slightly lower then that, and with the exception of TTD everything was open (but this was pre-Maverick.)

I've read big discussions on KIC about this in the past, and many KI ride op's were confirming temperature minimums, and I think 50 degrees was it, with a few rides like Flight Deck requiring like 55 degrees.

Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

That surprises me. Doesn't seem like many of the coasters have 'valley' points that are common. And Flight Deck? Where does that coaster go slow? You hit the brakes pretty hard at the end.

tigellinus said:
I've read big discussions on KIC about this in the past, and many KI ride op's were confirming temperature minimums, and I think 50 degrees was it, with a few rides like Flight Deck requiring like 55 degrees.

But was this before or after they were operated by Cedar Fair? I've also read that there was a start up temperature. Wooden coasters were 35 degrees, steel coasters was 45 or 50 degrees. It's possible that's changed.

Part of me wants to think that with the bad weather KI has had so far this year during the Haunt, as long as it's not raining they'll so everything they can to have all the rides open. But that's probably wishful thinking.

^No, these were ride op's who worked in the 07 and 08 seasons. I don't remember the exact temp's, but it was A LOT warmer than 35/45! Even Dollywood has a 40 degree min from what I remember with their enthusiast event last November.

As for Flight Deck, the reasoning had to do with the lift hill grease and not because of valleying concerns.

a_hoffman50's avatar

It depends what type of oil and grease they use. If they use something that is not very viscous, there will be rollbacks. However, there is a highly viscous oil that they can use on the tracks that will allow coasters to run. Last New Year's Eve, when it was below freezing, I rode Kentucky Rumbler without much noticeable slow down.

Early in its life I saw Vortex valleyed between the two vertical loops on a cold day. I've heard that now they only operate it above 50 degrees.

Each ride is different and the minimum operating temperatures will vary from ride to ride and park to park. I've ridden the Beast in the snow, but at WOF, they wouldn't operate Timber Wolf in the mid-fifties.

a_hoffman50's avatar

Timber Wolf crawled through its high turnaround on a warm day when I rode it a couple of years ago. That probably has something to do with it.

Jimmy Boy's avatar

Considering I have been on Kingda Ka when it was flurrying out and around 30 degrees in early april... im pretty sure most rides will run.... exceptions are Arrow designed coasters and slower paced wooden coasters.. At Kings Island.... dont expect to see firehawk running under 40 degrees and dont expect Vortex under 45 either (if it goes slow through that high turnaround it can valley between the loops or corkscrews. Beast will be running for sure, as will Flight of Fear, Invertigo, Racer, Backlot stunt coaster and the others. Im not so sure about diamondback because of the splashdown at the end though....

I thought it had something to do with the "opening" temperature. I know I rode the Beast in the mid 40s, maybe low 40s, but the ride openened in the mid 50s.

So, if it's a Saturday, you have a better chance, because the ride will have operated when it was higher temperature.

Fever I really enjoy the Simpsons. It's just a shame that I am starting to LOOK like Homer.

Spread out over many visits I have rode every coaster at SFMM when the temp was in the 40's. I have also rode the Desperado at Buffalo Bill's when it was 30 degrees a couple times.

My mother (1946-2009) once asked me why I go to Magic Mountain so much. I said I feel the most alive when I'm on a roller coaster.
2010 total visits: SFMM-9, KBF-2
2010 total ride laps: 437

crazy horse's avatar

Here are some answers....

what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Good info Crazy. I picked up a few tidbits of info myself.

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

DaveStroem's avatar

We were at SFStL on Friday night and the Boss was closed due to the cold. With the temps in the mid to high 40s at WOF on Saturday, I was fully expecting Timber Wolf to not be open after reading the post above. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was up & running with the rest of the park.

Now riding coasters in the cold is something you have to prepare for. Lots of layers. Diamondback was cold, but the Beast nearly stole my hat last night.

Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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