The alarm went off at 5:45…I pulled into Mt. Olympus’ parking lot about 10 after 10. Finding a space near the front, I parked with my back to Hades’ lift. First thing I did was start putting in my contact lenses. Noticing behind me that familiar sound of a woodie lift, I wondered if it were Zeus or Hades seeing as I was right between them. The woodie train started to roar with that familiar sound as it plunged down the first hill….then a second later, silence. The sound did not phase out…it just vanished. If you have not been to Mt. Olympus, they do not run the chains all the time, so there was no sound at all from the train or the chain.
With the second contact in, I got out of the car and looked toward the turnaround just in time to see the train climbing. There was only one passenger who I would later learn was a very nice regional ACE rep. Ever watch TTD creep over the tophat while you were sure it would rollback but it makes it over? This was like that. I could have sworn the train stopped, but it finally started to make its way down the turnaround and back into the tunnel.
Turning back to watch the return over Zeus, I saw the train nearly stall on that hill too but finally make it over. I was somewhat disappointed with the two stalls, but I was impressed with the short time it took the train to get thru the tunnel, and I knew the ride was new, on a cold morning, and with only one passenger.
Season passes are not on sale yet so I got my $32 wrist band for the day. You can also get a $5.95 spectator wrist band and $4 ride tickets if you prefer.
After making the long hike and climb (curse those stairs) to the station, the train was pulling in and the station was empty. I took the back.
Dropping out of the station produced nice floating air all the way down in the back seat. The train went up and right into the double down. Surprise surprise, there was a small pop of air on the top down of the double down and then I was just launched out of my seat. WOW, that worked really well. Around a turn to the right, over a bunny hop with nice air that transitioned well into a left hand turn lateral mogul skier style, and then up and left into the lift. The train gets a good head start on the lift and it does not take nearly as long as I expected to reach the top which was a concern I had. A one train operation is usually not a problem at Mt. Olympus but this ride is so much longer…but not time wise. ;)
There was glorious floating air down the first drop in the back. Nope, no insane S:RoS or Gemini back seat first drop ejector air, but still just wonderful. What? OMG the lights are on! No! But before I could really have a major problem with the lights, I was going all over the place, and I really did not have a good sense of what was going on even with the lights and after studying all the pics. It was just nuts. There was no slam into the bar super hard air, but I kept flying out of my seat, and there was major sensory overload. I couldn’t keep track of what was going on.
We barely made it over the turnaround. No air on the top, no air on the speed hill that sends you back under. Once underground it was nuts again even with the lights. I could tell I was coming out of my seat some, but I could not tell how many times or how good it was. Again with the sensory overload. The noise, the stuff flying by you so fast, the quick changes that come significantly faster than you are used to…it was just intense.
We exited the tunnel and raced up the return hill over Zeus. However, we lost a lot of speed at the top, and crept over the apex. The drop was long and fun even without the air and we had hit what seemed like max speed again very quickly. Up the next hill/right turn that goes right by the station, we got a small pop of air just due to the high speed. The hill does not look profiled for air at all. The next hill is more of just a turn to the right, but the speed was much higher than I had anticipated for it. Next hill again had a small pop of air and crazy speed. Again with the small pop of air on a small hop as we raced thru the lift supports and transitioned into the ¾ helix. The ride was still fast but finally under control about half way thru the helix and we hit the brakes.
Wow, what just happened? That ride was so crazy, but the parts I was anticipating to be good were not what I expected and the parts I was not sure about also were not what I expected. I tried to remember the 90* banked turn in the tunnel, but I was drawing a blank on that one. I didn’t even remember seeing it, and the lights were on. I was not even sure what my opinion on the ride was other than it was one of the most intense coaster experiences ever for me. Trying to break it down into the parts I liked seemed impossible, but I knew there was just something about this ride that was…WOW.
Getting out I asked the ride op if they were going to leave the lights on. He apparently did not know they were on and they were left on by mistake. He said they would be off shortly and they intend to run it all the time with the lights out.
Second Ride: Lights Out
It took me most of the train’s cycle just to walk around so the train was nearly back by the time I was waiting for the first seat. There was no air of course dropping from the station, but I was surprised there was a small pop of air on the double down. Of course the following bunny hop was great in the front just like the back.
I really like the extra second or two you get hanging over the first hill in the front to look at the tunnel below. Cameras are not permitted on the ride, so you will just have to see that for yourself. Of course, the air on the first drop is in the back.
We went into the tunnel and it was dark, but I could see a little. The first hop was fast and fun and then we turned a bit. Pitch black…I could not have seen my hand in front of my face, or so I assume as I was holding on because it freaked me the #$%& out. I had no idea what happened in the dark, I just know that eventually I could see the double up ahead. You quickly launch up off your seat and then just as quickly get put back in it because the ride is so fast you hit the positive g track before you are done flying up.
No air on the slow crawl over the turn around and very small amounts of air over the speed hill that sends you back underground. The tunnel was pitch black right away on the return run and again it was freaky. However, you do start to see again when you get to the second turn. I knew there were bunny hills, but once again I really could not break down what was going on.
I was hoping for a pop of air at the top of that return hill over Zeus in the front, but again the hill was dead. We picked up a ton of speed though for the rest of the ride and the last 3 moments of air that I mentioned in the back were a bit better in the front. I got off the ride still unsure of how much I liked it, but knowing it was very good but it had gotten the better of me and it would take several more rides for me to figure it out.
Hades is a very fast ride. I had brought a stop watch to time the morning and afternoon runs to see how much faster it got, but so much was going on that the stop watch stayed in my pocket. However, the ride op said the computer was timing the top of the lift (I guess when the chain turns off) till brakes at 60 seconds. This ride is 4,726 feet long. Now I know some of that is lift, pre-lift antics, and the station, but there is probably close to 4,000 feet of track covered in 60 seconds. Assuming, just for fun, it is 4,000 feet, the average speed after lift would be about 45mph including two near stalls. Hades is a very fast ride.
The ride did get faster throughout the day. This improved both the front and the back, but I feel the front improved more. In the morning, I think the back was the seat to ride. In the evening, it was closer or maybe more of a front seat ride.
The pre-lift section is just darn good. I have not been on Hydra yet, but it beat the heck out of a jojo roll. In fact, it might even be better than Powder Keg’s pre-lift section, but I will wait till I ride PK to make that claim.
Each seat has air before the lift but you get more the further back you sit. Front seat only has 2 pops of air, back has 4. Another enthusiast mentioned Cornball in reference to this part of the ride, and although it is not the same, I can see what she was talking about.
Towards the end of the day, the back seat air on the double down just got insane. People were yelling each time as it took them off guard. It was not quite as strong as the back seat on the drop on Cyclops, but it was much closer than I would have ever expected.
The bunny hill has a nice pop of air in all seats, and it gives you a nice shove into the right side of the train before you land as you go into a turn that takes you into the lift. You have enough speed that the back car is a few car lengths past the start of the chain before the train slows to the chain’s speed.
You really can’t call this the first drop on this ride although I am sure I will (or have) at some point. Going up the lift you can see ALL of Wisconsin Dells. Kids will be pointing out other places they’ve been. Avalanche can be seen to your right. Apparently, size does matter at least enough for them to survey Hades and Avalanche to determine that Hades in indeed higher from sea level than Avalanche even though Avalanche sits on top of a hill. I did not ask, but I bet Hades is lower too. ;)
The steepness of the drop was nice, but did not did not overly impress me. I guess the angle is too close to Avalanche’s to really notice a significant difference. Usually there were spectators around the drop taking pictures or just looking from the parking lot. The view from the front and the air in the back were both very good.
Tunnel Outrun: First Two Bunny Hills
The first bunny hill can be seen. I don’t know what it will be like on a night ride since the park closed at 6PM, but for now, it can be seen. You do come off your seat. You don’t come off very high or for very long, but there is no mistaking the airtime. It is not like it might be air or a bump in the track. This moment of air is in all seats I tried, but seems to be best in the front. What is different is that the air is not a singular experience. Your environment is changing fast, it is getting dark, you are just moving at a crazy speed, so it is very hard to "just experience the air" if that makes any sense.
There is a sleight turn to the right with a medium strength but very quick lateral and then it is lights out. From this point on, you are in complete darkness till you are coming out of the big turn and can see the double up. I am not talking about somewhat dark. This is completely dark, can’t see a darn thing dark. You hit a second bunny hill with air almost like the first one, but maybe 2% better. It is almost an identical experience.
If I had to compare these two bunny hills to another ride, it would compare to the bunny hill after the double down on Boss, only better. On Boss, you don’t seem to have air in all the seats like Hades, and you don’t come out of your seat as strong, but on Boss if you are in an airtime seat, you stay up longer. On Hades it is up-down very fast.
Tunnel Outrun: 90* Banked Turn
I only noticed there was some turn during my first few rides. It occurred to me at some point that I had seen pics of this wicked looking track hanging on the wall, so I forced myself to concentrate to try to notice it. For several rides I was sure that it had been retracked. It felt like only about 45* no matter how closely I paid attention. During this time, I had just been riding by myself.
Earlier I mentioned the Ace rep I meant, Scott. He was a very nice man and very informative. I mentioned my opinion on the banked turn and he said, no it was there and he could see it on his few rides in the morning when the lights were on. He said I could feel it and suggested I lean slightly to the left. My next run was the weirdest thing ever. I was sitting on the left (lower side of that turn) and I leaned so my side was up against the wall of the car. Again it only felt like 45* banking, but half way thru it I was just shoved into the side of the car. I could not feel any change in banking at all, but there was very strong shove without any hands on you. It was as if moosh was dead and was haunting Hades. I rode with Scott shortly after, and I was on the left. We both had our hands up and in that turn he slammed into me, unintentionally of course. It is the weirdest thing ever. I probably rode at least 25 times, and I could never feel like I was at 90* but the shove is there. What makes it even more weird is that since you cannot see the track or feel the change in banking, you don’t know when the shove it coming. You are just turning and then wham! Good times. I kind of wish I could get another lights on ride now that I know what to expect so I can try this turn while seeing it.
Tunnel Outrun: Double Up
This is the best of the tunnel airtime. Of course it is best in the front, but you get air in all seats. Again it is up-down really fast; it is just stronger than the two prior bunny hops. If you are looking for just insane air, you might be disappointed in the length of the air. If you are looking for an insane out of control tunnel experience that has a bunch of stuff going on, then the air fits in just perfectly. It is amazing how fast you are put back in your seat at it hits the positive g’s. It is as if you had bungy cords holding you to your seat. After the landing on the double up, you race up the turnaround really fast, but lose all your speed at the top.
Turnaround and Speed Hill:
There is no air on the large turnaround at all. You come close to a stop at the top, but it is just long enough for you to catch your breath as you start going down the long turn. It is not much for laterals. It just builds drama as you know you are about to go back into the tunnel. Of course you pick up good speed as you head into the speed hill.
In the morning the speed hill was about as dead as the hill over Zues. However, that changed dramatically as the day went on. In the afternoon, there was awesome air over that hill in the front and okay to good air in the back. If you have been on Avalanche and remember that long airtime hill, the front of that is like the front of this. The back cannot be compared. I would describe it as a long float…not ejector. You get to the positive g track about as soon as you enter the tunnel. You are still going down, but you are in the pullout.
Tunnel Return Run: Long Turn and First Bunny Hop
The banking on this feels the same as the 90* bank turn (without the shove). The speed feels about the same as you are in pitch black. What makes this freaky is you are in the pitch black turning for longer even though it does not feel much slower due to the dark.
When you finally come out of the long turn, you hit a bunny hill. I am still not sure how good it is. It is pitch black so you cannot see it coming. With that super long turn before also all pitch black, the bunny hill really takes you by surprise. This is a smaller pop of air than the 3 on the outrun, but it is definitely there. I think it is best in the front, but… I just did not ever know when to focus on it and it was always so quick. I think the air is almost nonexistent in the back on this hop, but again I just don’t know. This is just FYI though since you all like air and want to hear about it. Trust me, on this ride I don’t think it matters too much.
Tunnel Return Run: Reverse Banked Turn and "Stengel Dive looking" bunny hill.
Now you can start to see light and you are going to turn left to get out of the tunnel. So why is it that the banking on the turn is banked for a right hand turn? Um….because the boys at the GG group are sick puppies who like to pull the wings off flies in their spare time…that’s why. I have no way to describe this other than weird and crazy and insane and other general terms that don’t tell you anything. Is it a lateral? Not really. Or not the way I thought of a lateral. Is there air on a turn? Nope, but nice thought though. So what is it? What does it feel like? It feels weird and crazy and insane and other general terms that don’t tell you anything. This was the one part of the ride that seemed to really get Scott’s attention.
So you come out of the turn, and there is going to be a bunny hop (of course) and you are banked leaning right so you might as well stay banked leaning right (of course). Makes sense, right? Yeah, I thought so. Not much air on this bunny hop, but there is some, especially front left. So what if there is not much air on it? You won’t notice it on your first few times anyway and when you do, it will be weird and crazy and insane and other general terms that don’t tell you anything.
Return Hill Over Zeus
This was the biggest disappointment of the ride, but it is still fun. There is no air on it at all. None. Well late in the day I felt something in the front, but I felt way more on Wild Thing’s bunny hills the day before. Maybe it was a bump, or maybe some air was trying to come out. But I cannot call it air yet. The hill is still very large and fun to race up and down. You are inside the support structure for a lot of it, and it is fun to put your arms up and head back and look straight up as you go down. It is also a nice time to catch your breath again unless you are one of those people who can normally hold your breath for 60 seconds. After those steps to the station, not me. (curse the steps)
Hill After Return Hill Over Zeus
Ever been on Avalanche? Remember how the train flies right by the station? This does the exact same thing. It is harder to see because of all the stuff they have blocking it, but if you are in line for the front, you can see and feel the train speed by you on this hill. In fact, you could touch the track it is so close, but don’t. They have enough stuff blocking reaching up from high, but you can see better thru the lower part of the fence.
This hill is long, goes up straight and come down curving right. You would not think there would be air on it, but it is so fast you do get a small pop. It is just the beginning of the way too fast race around the woods. If you are sitting on the right, there is a section of handrail that does not match the track and looks like a laying down Z. Instead of a head chopper, this is more of a "head impailer". By the way, this ride has so many head choppers I am not even trying to mention them. If that is your thing, you won’t be disappointed.
Next comes what looks like a low speed hill and what feels like a fast turn. No air, just speed. I thought this looked like the lame part of the ride, but it is just nuts…or a part of the nuts. That probably won’t make sense until you ride it.
Final Speed Hill
More out of control speed. You do get a pop of air in most or all seats, but front is best. None of the air though after the tunnel is all that good. It is just the speed and insane ride that are good, and it has some air too.
Going Thru the Lift Supports
You are going fast. You go thru supports. There is a small hop that delivers minor fast air toward the front of the train and ends in a left hand turn lateral.
¾ Helix into Brake Run
Insane speed slows to just fast about ½ way up the helix. There is some shuffle in the second half, but nothing too bad. No really hard lateral…just the winding down of insane speed.
Odds and Ends:
It’s pretty darn good for this park. In fact, the whole park is so different from two years ago. There is a temple structure around the entrance/exit near the turnaround that looks pretty impressive from the street. If you saw the pics the gravity group website, that dark coloring on the lower half covers all of it now.
Of course, the two aspects of this ride that theme it to "Hades" are the tunnel and the stairs to the station. The funny thing is after you ride several times and the tunnel loses a little of the "Hades" feel, those stairs pick up the slack. Before you get to the stairs, there is a long upward sloping path you have to walk that gets steeper and steeper. Then there are 4 sets of stairs. The first is not bad at all. I look like an Olympic athlete going up them which is very fitting for Mt. Olympus. The second set gets a good burn going later in the day, but it is all good. You need a good burn every once in a while. The third set is where the "Hades" theming comes in. I don’t like them stairs. Not one bit. We won’t talk about the 4th set other than to say I have nothing nice to say about them. I will say though that in the evening the last 3 steps look a lot worse close up than they do from the ground. I did not notice that in the morning.
I have a lot of pics of the station that I hope to have up soon. Please be patient as I am in the middle of a move and just had my home internet shut off. I have to do this from "work" LOL.
There is a set of gates for a 6th car, but it is fenced off. The control panel is toward the back of the train on the left, but there is a dispatch and e-stop button on the front right. There is a nice blue sign that spells out the rules for Hades. I looked and looked but could not find a GG plaque like CCI used to have. There is one of those counter things when you walk in, but it is empty and not counting anything. Just like the other coasters, there is a mail box hung vertical and upside down with a punched in hole for ride tickets. They had two ride ops normally who did a great job checking restraints and dispatching the train. They may wait a bit if people are coming and there are lots of empty seats, but it is not even close to an IB-like problem. In fact, some time sitting there can be a nice break with all those stairs. I told Scott that sometimes I waited for the front seat just to get a break. He laughed, but I wasn’t kidding.
There were all these un-popped large popcorn kernels all over the ground and in the station and under parts of the track. Remember those sacks in the Hades train in the testing pics? Apparently they are filled with corn. And apparently Hades rips cornballs to shreds, so to speak. There was one spot under the pre-lift bunny hill where apparently one cornball met its maker. That ground was just covered with corn. I got a pic of a squirrel getting those spoils which I hope to post later if it came out.
I Broke the Sign:
There is a tree at the fork. One sign pointing left said "Hades". The other sign below it pointing right said "Zeus". I snapped a pic and the Hades sign fell over. So I took 2 pics of it on the ground. Later, it was back up, but below the Zeus sign, so naturally I needed another picture. I am such a coaster dork.
My Take on Hades:
Two thumbs up! Gravity Group did it! Yeah, I wish some of the air was better. I wonder if a ride like this could exist in a corporate park. Something tells me CF or even SF would have to tame it down some. I have never been on a woodie this intense. Just in case that did not sink in; I have never been on a woodie close to this intense. Or at least not close as a hole. The helix on Beast, maybe close but not Beast as a whole. The second half of Raven, maybe close to as intense, but not as a whole. This ride is a balls to the wall full throttle Rollercoaster with a capital "R". If you break it down into parts like air, laterals, transitions and aspects like pacing, smoothness etc, sure you can find better. But if you just define a rollercoaster as some train going nuts, this one is hard to beat. It is just so different from everything I have been on. I don’t know how to rank it. I was thinking, if Thunderhead were right next to it, which would I ride? If Legend were right next to it, which would I ride? Half the time I was saying the coaster besides Hades, but that may be because I just needed a break from it. It would be interesting to see if coasters like Thunderhead and Legend seem like they have lost some of their "bite" now that I have been thru the tunnel.
I will add pic links as soon as I get them up. Thanks for reading and I will try to answer any questions you may have. *** Edited 5/16/2005 10:15:10 PM UTC by RavenTTD*** *** Edited 5/17/2005 10:58:08 PM UTC by RavenTTD***
I'm very much alive, thankyouverymuch ;)
Sounds like a winner...thanks for the TR.
Must ride now.
i'm not sure what to put here..
TR's from SRM 2000 said about Legend. That helix was so slow, We could have called a wrecker to get the train to the station. It took a full three months for it to get broke in and running to design speed (Or Better :)) Again in 2002 when the PTC's were put on, I felt Legend was running sub par. In 2003 it was back strong as ever.
Don't give up on them dead spots yet. That return hill paralleing the lift has Timbers written all over it.
Chuck, thanking you for a excellent TR.
Musta taken a lot of time, Well worth it.
So far I love what I have been hearing. Disorientation. Speed. Yum!
I am fuss about roughness but if it's a "good" roughness like Tsunami or Legend then all the better!
I know I don't want it called J2 but oh well.
Hades looks like a great ride, just wish I could get there this year but it isn't going to happen. Looks like my kind of wooden coaster. Fast and furious where you get off the ride saying "WHAT JUST HAPPENED? Now I got to ride again."
Regarding roughness, it is not a tracking issue. You get a very rough airtime launch in the back pre-lift, and it just rides the track hard and fast. I just hope it does not get too much rougher over the years.
I honestly don't know how much the steel supports affect the ride. I know that there is less "give" in them, but what that means for Hades is something I really can't say yet. *** Edited 5/17/2005 3:56:20 PM UTC by RavenTTD***
There are my trip pics. The first 6 are of Avalanche's turn around the station that I was told was reprofiled. Here is that turn last season:
Link *** Edited 5/17/2005 10:49:42 PM UTC by RavenTTD***
I love how the supports look. It's like they almost have a blue tint to them.
i'm not sure what to put here..
Here is the squirrel eating the corn from a cornball used in testing under the pre-lift bunny hop.
Here is the fenced off air gates for a 6th car.
Here is the track right next to the station. You are looking thru the fence in the station right behind the line for the first seat.
And here is that fly-by from underneath.
Here is the Hades signe before I knocked it down.
Here is the Hades sign after I took its picture.
Here is the Hades sign back up now under the Zeus sign.
Here is a nice shot you can wait for halfway up the steps.
Here are the steps that motivated that shot.
Also nice to hear from everybody who rides this thing that the tunnel is completely nuts, but not rough.
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