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warfelg

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Mar 16, 2016
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Getting way off topic, I have been on a few alpine coasters with lifts.

Also, can confirm: frightened people in front of you suck.

Without derailing the Orion thread anymore maybe it’s best to have an alpine coaster thread.

Seems as though my quick research has returned a mixed bag as to why an alpine coaster isn’t a Giga. I’ve quickly seen lack of continuous drop, user controls, lack of lift (despite some having one), top speed. Seems like a very mixed bad as to why alpine coasters have their own classification outside of height.
 

warfelg

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Something I'm noticing too as I read up some about alpine coasters is they seem to be more classified by overall length than height, max speed, or anything else.
 

Jonesta6

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Therein lies the quandary - by definition wouldn't a roller coaster include alpine coasters?

And then the classification of height - is it one unbroken path downward with a smooth transition from top to bottom that classifies a ride as a hyper, giga, or whatever, or can the drop be jaggedy as long as it doesn't come back up?
 
Mar 18, 2017
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Of course they're roller coasters, what I question is their hyper- or giga-ness. They are more like small coasters made really long and if they feel fast or tall relative to the average woodie it's because the cars are so small. It is possible for something to cross the grey area between, but unfortunately I don't know of anything. If you had a really big coaster but with brakes all the way down the drop, for example, or such a stretched out one it never goes near as fast as the falling body calculator would predict, for examples. What could be very cool is still hitting some good speeds, airtime, and actually be going a lot faster towards the end than the usual hyper or giga of the same elevation change and length.

At the same time, if they have it why don't they flaunt it? "Alpine Hyper Coaster" ?
 

Jonesta6

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Of course they're roller coasters, what I question is their hyper- or giga-ness. They are more like small coasters made really long and if they feel fast or tall relative to the average woodie it's because the cars are so small. It is possible for something to cross the grey area between, but unfortunately I don't know of anything. If you had a really big coaster but with brakes all the way down the drop, for example, or such a stretched out one it never goes near as fast as the falling body calculator would predict, for examples. What could be very cool is still hitting some good speeds, airtime, and actually be going a lot faster towards the end than the usual hyper or giga of the same elevation change and length.


I think you may have missed where I was going - it's more of a question of the definitions for coaster classifications by height.

If alpine coasters are considered coasters, which it sounds like we generally agree on but not necessarily everyone does, then they should be subject to the same height classifications. However, the height classification definitions are rather murky as they were initially (and realistically still are) just marketing terms and not well-defined industry classifications.

Therefore, can a coaster still be considered a hyper if the drop, while still 200' or greater but less than 300' (or whatever height classification you'd like) is not continuously at the same angle/lateral direction but undulates by varying degrees in the path downward considering it's literally following natural terrain and is not an artificial hill design?
 
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Therefore, can a coaster still be considered a hyper if the drop, while still 200' or greater but less than 300' (or whatever height classification you'd like) is not continuously at the same angle/lateral direction but undulates by varying degrees in the path downward considering it's literally following natural terrain and is not an artificial hill design?
I can't make anyone use a certain word, and if there is an alpine coaster like that, they should claim it. However a ride governed to a max. 27 MPH is simply not much like the experience of what has, so far, been called a hyper coaster. There are probably coasters that gain speed gradually and still reach higher speeds, but I doubt any of those have 200' of elevation change.
 

Zachary

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My Approach: Classification as a Hyper/Giga/Strata requires an uncontrolled drop through a single element that decreases the rider's altitude by 200/300/400 feet.

Yes, my definition rules out the "original hyper," but frankly, too bad. Cedar Point's initial definition of hyper for Magnum (a highest point 200 to 300 feet above grade) is nonsensical and contradicts their current (in my opinion, valid) claim that Orion is a giga. With an "above grade" definition, any coaster could be claimed as any "height" with a little work with some digging equipment below the coaster's highest point and erosion could create new gigas out of tall hypers organically. It just isn't a useful, reasonable way to classify coasters.
 
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Jonesta6

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27 MPH is simply not much like the experience of what has, so far, been called a hyper coaster. There are probably coasters that gain speed gradually and still reach higher speeds, but I doubt any of those have 200' of elevation change.

But since when was speed part of the defining criteria? Not saying any ride out there does this, but if you were to take a ride with a 250' drop but it had trims all the way down, it'd still be a hyper even if the experience leaves a lot to be desired.

My Approach: Classification as a Hyper/Giga/Strata requires an uncontrolled drop through a single element that decreases the rider's altitude by 200/300/400 feet.

But by that definition would you say that an alpine coaster could still count as long as there's still downhill travel (yet to hear of one with an actual helix or inversion)?
 

warfelg

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But by that definition would you say that an alpine coaster could still count as long as there's still downhill travel (yet to hear of one with an actual helix or inversion)?

There's flat spots, secondary lifts, and forced stop areas on them that interrupt the downhill travel, thus breaking the uncontrolled drop through a single element.
 
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Zachary

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But by that definition would you say that an alpine coaster could still count as long as there's still downhill travel (yet to hear of one with an actual helix or inversion)?

They basically all have a bunch of turns and helixes on the way down. Plus, Alpine Coasters have a rider-controlled braking system and some even have speed limits and collision prevention systems that will slow vehicles automatically. Even if you stretched the definition of drop to encompass all of the sequencial downhill elements on an Alpine Coaster (silly in my opinion), the existence of on-ride, user-controlled brakes means the drops aren't actually uncontrolled and hence they wouldn't qualify by my definition in my opinion.
 
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EdK

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The only alpine coaster I experienced was at Action Park in New Jersey during the 80's. As long as no one was going slow you could get some good speed on it. It was more frightening than any coaster because you could fly off the track if you went too fast and seriously injure yourself.
 

Jonesta6

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The only alpine coaster I experienced was at Action Park in New Jersey during the 80's. As long as no one was going slow you could get some good speed on it. It was more frightening than any coaster because you could fly off the track if you went too fast and seriously injure yourself.

I thought alpine coasters require some kind of car on rail droopy setup where that one was an asbestos flume that maybe hopefully you'd stay in?

However, that you survived it - you have any really good Action Park stories/memories?
 

Zachary

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Just as a general statement because I think there is some confusion here.

An Alpine Coaster is a tubular steel roller coaster with a lift hill, coaster track, and cars. The first one opened in 1996.

More Information:


Example:



This is different from but also often reasonably confused with an Alpine Slide which is a toboggan ride that traverses a waterslide-like bobsled track. Those often won't have traditional lift hills (toboggans are often carried up on a ski lift) and their classification as a coaster is far more controversial than proper Alpine Coasters.

Examples:





Alpine Coasters and Alpine Slides both feature rider-controlled braking systems, but their ride experiences are dramatically different from one another.
 
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Mar 18, 2017
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But since when was speed part of the defining criteria? Not saying any ride out there does this, but if you were to take a ride with a 250' drop but it had trims all the way down, it'd still be a hyper even if the experience leaves a lot to be desired.
The current rides called hypers have different drop shapes, but none are different enough to change the maximum speed much. And an essential part of getting full use of that height is speed. If somehow the speed is reduced to what a little Alpine coaster car can handle, the difference is not subtle. Builders and operators don't call them hypers, etc. even though they could. It's better to concentrate of what the ride is actually like than invite that comparison. Also, if the speed is governed to something easily reached, a steeper drop past a point wouldn't change the experience much except for the brakes getting hot. Length is enough "specs" to get into the differences between these coasters.

My Approach: Classification as a Hyper/Giga/Strata requires an uncontrolled drop through a single element that decreases the rider's altitude by 200/300/400 feet.

Yes, my definition rules out the "original hyper," but frankly, too bad. Cedar Point's initial definition of hyper for Magnum (a highest point 200 to 300 feet above grade) is nonsensical and contradicts their current (in my opinion, valid) claim that Orion is a giga. With an "above grade" definition, any coaster could be claimed as any "height" with a little work with some digging equipment below the coaster's highest point and erosion could create new gigas out of tall hypers organically. It just isn't a useful, reasonable way to classify coasters.

Magnum is on really flat land though. On different land a coaster can have a bigger drop easier instead. My point in the Orion thread was that the round number can push the makers to go that bit farther. According to Wikipedia, the original proposal was 187 feet but CP increased it. Magnum and others also created the hyper style of coaster, any giant steel coaster based on height and speed and, hopefully, airtime, instead of inversions. 200 feet made it worth a try.

Here's a tricky one: First drop 170' then ascends 80' then drops another 170', total drop 260', reaching 80 MPH; height 180'. Hyper.
Another: Big Apple Coaster. Ummm.
 

Zachary

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Here's a tricky one: First drop 170' then ascends 80' then drops another 170', total drop 260', reaching 80 MPH; height 180'. Hyper.
Another: Big Apple Coaster. Ummm.

Not tricky for me. No drop with a drop height of 200 to 300 feet? Not a hyper.

PS: I'm talking about hyper/giga/strata purely in their height designator sense. Bolliger & Mabillard confused things a lot by creating a coaster model also called the "Hyper Coaster." These can be less than 200 feet tall (both above grade and drop height, see: Hollywood Dream). That said, "Hyper Coaster" in this context is a coaster model designator, not a height classification designator so it's an entirely different term in practice.
 

warfelg

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Yea, I have a hard time looking at consecutive smaller drops (basically what an alpine coaster/slide is) and call it a hyper or Giga coaster. First, as @Zachary has stated in some cases it’s a model not and industry term. Second, consider that it’s not just a height requirement but a drop requirement as well. If something is a series of drops it fails the single drop part. We don’t add the pre-drop to coasters drop height. We don’t add pre-drops on water ride heights. So why would we add drops together here?
 
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Why do alpine coasters even have brakes since you can’t fly off? All that does is make it possible for people to use the brakes and maybe risk getting crashed into, or at best slow everyone up. Though I’ve never been on one. Just an alpine slide many years ago.
 
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Not tricky for me. No drop with a drop height of 200 to 300 feet? Not a hyper.

PS: I'm talking about hyper/giga/strata purely in their height designator sense. Bolliger & Mabillard confused things a lot by creating a coaster model also called the "Hyper Coaster." These can be less than 200 feet tall (both above grade and drop height, see: Hollywood Dream). That said, "Hyper Coaster" in this context is a coaster model designator, not a height classification designator so it's an entirely different term in practice.

So would you prefer that Magnum and my hypothetical coaster larger than Nitro (230') not be built than be called hypercoasters? As a hypothetical, maybe it's not, but if someone builds such a monstrosity they can call it anything they want!

I would prefer the less than 200' hypers be called hyper-style, but at any rate the 200' claim helped get that style established so well most people realized that it would be quite valid even when a little smaller. At the same time, the original size AND style definition excluding inversions became restrictive in promoting huge coasters with inversions, so the definition has been expanded.

Why do alpine coasters even have brakes since you can’t fly off? All that does is make it possible for people to use the brakes and maybe risk getting crashed into, or at best slow everyone up. Though I’ve never been on one. Just an alpine slide many years ago.
Stress, physical limits. Even more, ease of design. My impression is these coasters are designed first as a system that will always work provided the layout follows certain rules such as angle of descent.

The result is more like a sequence of small coasters than a single large one. While my hypothetical coaster's drops combine to produce the speed that a single huge drop would produce.
 

Zachary

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So would you prefer that Magnum and my hypothetical coaster larger than Nitro (230') not be built than be called hypercoasters?

Wait, I'm super lost. Parks do and should build non-hyper coasters all the time... Why is the choice between not building a coaster and misclassifying said coaster...?

I'm also just generally confused as to why speed or style would enter into the calculation for height classification terms like hyper/giga/strata. There are non-height characteristics that often correlate with hyper/giga/strata coasters (speed, airtime, length) but those characteristics are not determinative of those coasters' height classifications.

You sorta pointed this out already in fact. Like you said, early on there was a perception that hyper coasters didn't have inversions—this was a result of the correlation between coasters with 200 to 300 foot drops and inversion-less, airtime-focused rides. People's perceptions have begun to change now though as coasters with 200 to 300 foot drops have begun to integrate inversions. Suddenly the strong correlative relationship between hyper coasters and coasters without inversions is a lot weaker. This demonstrates that the lack of inversions never had a causal relationship with the term hyper, just a correlative one. To put it another way, people's understanding of a hyper coaster changed not because the definition of a hyper coaster changed, but because the archetypal mental image of a hyper coaster changed due to the expanding variety of individual coasters which make up the hyper coasters group.
 
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Mar 18, 2017
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You win, you get more likes. Beats me why. My hypothetical coaster wasn't just a Hyper, it was hyper as hell.
 
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