Fire and Ice: The Dells

Associated parks:

Avalanche and Hades -

What a weekend!! After visiting the family in Indy, I decided to make a ludicrous road trip to the Dells before catching my flight out of Chi-town Sunday evening. This meant I was to wake up and hit the road by 5:30, 7.5 hours of driving to the Dells, 3 hours of riding, and then a 3 hour jaunt back down to Ohare to catch my flight at the last possible instant.

I was not disappointed with my impulsive decision.

Last time I went to the Dells was a side expedition from the Alpine Valley Phish shows in the summer of 03. Good times. Crazy multiple rides on Cylcops getting my spine busted on the double bump of “the drop”. The drop has not changed. It still remains the most brutal, forceful drop of any ride I’ve ever ridden. Two rides this time was enough. Two rides on Zeus as well…still love the turnaround. I ignored the lateral Pegasus encounter this time and the kiddie and water coasters were not open. But I did score two new credits and am still smiling today from yesterday’s rides.


Hades is an impressive coaster. Stellar speed and the out-of-control feeling similar to the Beast’s entry to the double helix. The prelift elements were rather abrupt, especially the second drop of the double down. It jolted the train every time, regardless of seat position. But this was followed by a nice curve to the right and then a beautiful lateral floater to the left before the lift. Good start….but it got MUCH better.

The drop off the chain has some nice float in the back, nothing too crazy though….just picking up speed for the ensuing tunnel track. A straight run of track upon entering the tunnel sets up a nice turn to the right and then all goes dark. The track has a nice little surprise drop-out before the infamous flare turn to the left. The double up into the turnaround pinnacle gives a quick jolt of air. Great spiral drop into an extended headchopper float entrance back into the tunnel. The return trip was not as out-of-control as the out run but the leaning hop was brilliant. The preceding left-hand turn unbanks slightly before the track is straight, giving a small lateral. This lateral is carried to the peak of the lean hill by a reverse banking of the track.

The hill running parallel to the lift does not deliver air but is a great breather before the last insane turnaround. The track dives down into a small floater and then valleys out in an extended rightward curve. I love the power in valley curve pullouts (SOB) and this one delivered well. This curve wraps up through the lift into an ascending left helix and the brake run.

All-in-all, a very fun and intense ride. My favorite moments in order: Small Surprise Tunnel Drop on the Out run, Lean Float Lateral, Left Float in Pre-Lift, Raging Right Hand Valley. I love speed and being able to sense the out-of-control feeling. The tunnel does a good job of creating anticipation and amplifying the train movements because you have no idea what is hitting next. But the 90+ degree turn is nothing more than two small lateral jolts without a reference point (light). I hope that we get such a turn that is exposed on the next incarnation from GG.

Congrats to Gravity Group on a solid coaster.


After a few rides I quickly made my way to Timber Falls and parked my car in the adjacent Family Dollar lot. The train was raging past….it looked as though I was watching something in fast motion. I bought my wristband and boarded an empty train in the back row. What just happened? I was laughing with minimal breath on the brake run.

The ride is INSANE!!! This ride has lots of everything….aggressive laterals, extended floats, abrupt ejector air, lateral floats…you name it. From the first drop through the brakes there is only a single sluggish moment in the station wraparound. But the rest of the ride is amazingly paced. Alan told me this was my type of ride and I wholeheartedly agree. Avalanche is my new #1 in place of the Raven….not quite the picturesque forest setting but this thing tracks like a bat-out-of-hell….and I absolutely loved it.

The tiny train makes the ride SO much better. With the shorter train, all of the elements were designed tighter than possible on a long train where front thrust and tail whip limit the transitions. The turns would go from 0deg to 60+deg and back to 0deg within 2 seconds. The abrupt air hills would go from +4 to -1 to +4 in similar fashion. Incredible stuff!

Alan pushes the envelope in a very good way. Brace yourself for a pacing gem and ride action that will rival any large scale coaster out there.

Thanks for reading! Get to the Dells for these two amazing rides! And if you have never been be sure to experience the double-bump spinebuster drop on Cyclops!

**Edit for Paragraphs** *** Edited 5/23/2005 11:57:07 PM UTC by Coaster Joe***

Great TR...I have been on both rides and you gave a very good description of each. As much as I like Hades, I cannot yet rank it higher than Avalanche, but it might get faster so we will see. I agree that the short train on Avalanche totally makes that ride. A lot of people are in for a pleasant surprise this summer as they go to ride Hades and get to experience the often overlooked Avalanche.
Man, you guys are killing me! I need to get to the Dells. I knew it was always known for it's population of waterparks, but it wasn't until about a year ago that I realized the amount of coasters up there. I was checking out pics of Hades last week, and it looks like it rocks!

Now officially a Halloween Haunt Cornstalker for Fall '08!
Great TR Joe. Avalance rocks! It was instantly my #1 after my first ride. I think with all the riders it is going to get at Con this summer it is going to be at the top of Mitch's poll.

Monkey killing monkey killing monkey over pieces of the ground, silly monkeys give them thumbs they forge a blade and weapons by the pound to divide it, right in two - Tool
Kick The Sky's avatar
Excellent... another Avalanche convert! It is a majorly underappreciated coaster due to it's lack of ridership among the enthusiast community that flocked to Pigeon Forge last year knowing they would come out to the Dells this year for Con. I think there may be a few enthusiasts changing their number one after the Con.

Certain victory.

Yet another TR that makes me salivate for this upcoming weekend. I've never been to the Dells and this weekend is sure to be packed. But it's not going to stop me from finally getting on these great woodies. I can't wait.

Good to see a fellow Phish phan on here. Last year I hit IB the weekend I was in Indy during Phish's final run. Nothing like mixing my two favorite passtimes into one great trip. This time I'm hitting several new parks over the course of a week with a three day bluegrass festival in the middle. Should be splendid.

Yeah is Good!
Awesome stuff Incidentalist! I saw the last 17 shows (Vegas, June run, August run). I'm almost glad they are done because there is no way I could convince Stan to let me off of work for extended touring.

In between the SPAC and Deer Creek shows I hit up Great Escape, Darien Lake and Cedar Point for some quick thrills. But none of those coasters touched the Tube second set opener night 2 of the Creek. Such a great time on tour!

I'm out in Utah now and don't get much music or coasters to keep me busy. Heading to High Sierra Festie this year. Can't wait to watch Gordon-Kotke, and Gordo with the Duo late night. Fareed will also be representing.

Have fun on your trip! What festival are you going to?

The bluegrass fest I'm hitting is Appalachian Uprising in Scottstown, Ohio (aka, the middle of nowhere, but conveniently located near Camden Park). I'm calling it poor man's Telluride. Three days of music and camping for $60 with Sam Bush, YMSB, Shanti Groove, Hot Buttered Rum String Band, Larry Keel and Old School Freight Train being the bands that are getting me there in the first place with several supporting acts that I'm sure will keep my butt moving all weekend.

Combine that with the Dells, Little Amerika, SFGAm, IB, SFKK and Camden Park for a pretty fun 10 days. All but IB are new to me, so I'm psyched.

Catching any shows in Colorado this summer? I'm in StL now, but I live in CO. I'm looking forward to early July at Red Rocks. The 1st is Gov't Mule, moe., and Gordon/Kotke. The 2nd and 3rd have SCI, YMSB, New Monsoon, Keller, Michael Franti and Umphrey's. If you're in the area anytiime this summer, let me know. My email is

Have fun at High Seirra and check out Rock the Earth (it's an environmental group, not a band) if you ever see them at a show/festival/event. I'm one of their staff environmental attorneys and try to promote them when I can.

Have to say I enjoyed the first night at Deer Creek more, but I had a lot more help that evening. I think you're going to be one of the only posters that knows where I got my signature. ;)

Yeah is Good!

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