Gary Norton's book (Silverwood)

janfrederick's avatar

This came out in the news a couple of weeks ago:

I went out and downloaded the book on my Kindle and breezed through it pretty quickly. Wow, what a great story! The editing could be better, but after the first chapter I found myself not caring.

Not to spoil anything, but what a crazy thing to design and build a major ride from scratch simply because you couldn't afford purchasing it from a manufacturer and because you'd rather do it yourself anyway and then make design improvements on top of it.

Have any of you had the chance to read this yet? I've always wanted to go to Silverwood, and I want to go more than ever now.

Last edited by janfrederick,
"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
Jeff's avatar

I went last fall, and I was not exactly blown away. Good first impression at the restaurant near the front of the park, but it didn't last after that.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

janfrederick's avatar

I remember reading your trip report. The book actually explains the one train operations. Since he writes the software for the rides, I don't think he trusts his own ability to safely run two train operations. And I have a feeling the park grew faster than he anticipated.

It looks like some improvements are in the works:

It's too bad you had a bad time because after reading this, it sounds like the quality of everyone's experience is very important to him. But the fact that he specifically spoke about the one train operation leads me to believe that it must be a sticking point with a lot of guests.

Regardless of what you think of the park, you gotta love the story. He's a bit full of himself, but by the end, I think he may be justified.

Last edited by janfrederick,
"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
rollergator's avatar

I've gone to a few CAC events, and since those were on Saturdays, the one-train ops always became a sticking point during the daytime. Of course, at night, it meant the trains rolled right through the stations for multi-lap fun! Tremors was my #1 for years....and Timber Terror delivered pretty much everything that STimbers promised...

nasai's avatar

I think it's a fabulous place, and I've never had an issue with lines or frustration with operations. Sure, it's not CP or SF or anything like it.... thank God.

It may be a NW thing but, rest assured, we love our slow parks. I remember reading a TR years back on Silverwood, and the writer put it so perfectly..... "set your mind to mosey, and you'll be fine."


BTW, Timber Terror is almost perfect. A truly fabulous ride, with yummy air.

The Flying Turns makes all the right people wet - Gonch

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, toddlers aren't as flexible as adults.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

Actually, you might be surprised at how flexible toddlers can be. It wasn't that long ago they were spending around nine months folded up in-- wait a minute...


Jeff's avatar

Mine was not flexible, and on that day, unwilling to nap in his stroller.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

janfrederick's avatar

The guy developed his own POS system from scratch. Laid the three miles of train track himself. Got Invertigo running. Beat back vicious dogs in Hong Kong with a stick...

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

I just got back from a trip to SIlverwood finally. I have been trying to go to this park for years since my wife is from Idaho, but never fit it into the plans until last week. While there I found this book in the gift shop and bought it. I devoured it the last couple of days after returning from the vacation. His story is extremely interesting. I would recommend this as a must read to any coaster/amusement park enthusiast.

Here are some quick insights from the book, first about the 1 train ops. "I still read comments about the park from guests complaining about us not running multiple trains on our tracks. It is just that I am overly concerned with hurting anyone that keeps me from doing it. I am sorry, but the long lines are the result of my obsession with safety." A couple of lines later he writes, "I may review this decision in the future as we continue to grow and design more coasters as I do sympathize with our guests having to wait in long lines some days." Reminds me of times when I would read about Holiday World running 1 train and they eventually added extra trains....could happen for Silverwood in the future also.

Insight into Mr. Norton's love of the park, "This is not a business first approach, but my personal creation that I take great pride in. I live here on the property and always want to be able to walk through the park and be proud of our entire operation."

Fun insight on Aftershock, "...Six Flags was very eager to unload these coasters. I was told I could have my pick of any one of them for just under a million dollars. I shot back that I would pay half that, and was surprised when they readily agreed. I had no budget that year for a project like this, but I couldn't pass it up." He continues, "I was informed that when first trying to install the coaster at Six Flags it took many months and many destroyed catch cars before they got it right. Their opening dates were severely missed and the first year had been a nightmare with constant breakdowns. It almost put the coaster company out of business. Fred working alongside Silverwood's maintenance staff headed up by Denny Higdon, had assembled the coaster so perfectly that when the manufacturers team came over from Europe to set up the system it ran correctly almost the first time. These engineers had expected to spend at least a month trying to get everything tuned up. The European engineers commented that they had never had one of their coasters so perfectly aligned during construction."

Besides waiting a bit for Tremors we had a great time at this park. The food was fantastic and we loved the train ride through the woods. I would love to go back and hit a few more things that we missed and eat some more of the food that he describes in the book. I applaud him for his incredible drive and effort to build an entire amusement park from the ground up.

Jeff's avatar

The single-train thing is killer. I mean, I tried to be zen about my day there with an 18-month old, but with slow operations, no parent swap, it was rough. Unless I have a reason to hang out in Coeur d'Alene, I'll probably never go back.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

slithernoggin's avatar

I visited the park during an ACE event. I enjoyed myself, and I enjoyed exploring Couer d'Alene -- but like Jeff, absent a reason to be in Couer d'Alene I won't be back to the park.

Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

We (International Rides Management) brokered the deal for Aftershock. That's not exactly how it went, but the ending result was they received a great ride.

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