Johns Hopkins Magazine
Johns Hopkins Magazine Current Issue Past Issues Search Get In Touch
Kirkland's Top 5 "Woodies"

By Craig Kirkland

1) The Raven (Custom Coasters International, 1995; Holiday World, Ind.)
From its opening plunge to its last frantic dash through a forested gully, this terrain coaster never lets up. The unofficial slogan among many park employees and enthusiasts is "Fly Raven Air," because riders spend more time out of their seats than in them.

2) Boulder Dash (Custom Coasters International, 2000; Lake Compounce, Conn.)
An engineering marvel, this out-and-back woodie is built directly into the side of a mountain. The use of the terrain makes the coaster seem even faster, as it tears around, above, and over rocks and trees. Boulder Dash is long, has air time in variety and abundance, and is wickedly fast and smooth.

3) Phoenix (Herb Schmeck, 1947; Knoebel's Grove, Pa.)
One of the greatest coaster preservation monuments, and proof positive that bigger is not better. This 76-foot-high ride, with its signature double-up, double-down maneuver, may feature more air time than any other woodie on the planet.

4) Shivering Timbers (Custom Coasters International, 1998; Michigan's Adventure, Mich.)
Every enthusiast's darling, this giant out-and-back is an air time monster, with four big hills on the run out from the station, followed by a phenomenal return leg, featuring six bunny hops, a double-up, a rare trick track that throws riders from side to side, and a helix, most of this blasting right under the claustrophobia-inducing structure of the ride itself.

5) The Legend (Custom Coasters International, 2000; Holiday World, Ind.)
Legend, with a Headless Horseman theme, has plenty of air time, but it's more noted for its incredible speed, forcefully sustained but smooth laterals (thanks again to the crew for keeping it in great shape), and the single most out-of-control feeling of any ride in the country.

Kirkland regularly contributes reviews to, one of a plethora of coaster Web sites.

Go to High Rollers

Return to September 2002 Table of Contents

  The Johns Hopkins Magazine | The Johns Hopkins University | 3003 North Charles Street |
Suite 100 | Baltimore, Maryland 21218 | Phone 410.516.7645 | Fax 410.516.5251