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Feb 14, 2019
You win, you get more likes. Beats me why. My hypothetical coaster wasn't just a Hyper, it was hyper as hell.

It's not about winning or losing, as I'm proven wrong here several times and yet still learn something from it/don't always have well reacted-to posts either.

However, the general gist of things are that alpine coasters can't be classified by height like steel or wooden coasters can unless they have comparable drop heights without interruption.

Speed never had anything to do with the classification system as, though highly unlikely to ever be built per my previous post, a coaster with a drop over 200' and under 300' with trims all the way down is still a hyper even if the experience sucks.
Mar 18, 2017
^^-- what I learned is I've given all my arguments and ain't convincing anyone here.

I've seen this discussion at least a dozen times over the years, and it used to be the prevailing view that height (above the ground) is the essential number for hyper or giga. Only recently has that changed to height OR drop. There was never any issue with Magnum's drop being 195' except to argue OR over AND.

The propulsion of the coaster around the course is the most essential part of a conventional drop coaster's height. I can't see any better measure of a drop's or drops' effectiveness at producing the sensation of power and speed than how fast it goes.

I just watched some Alpine coaster videos and looks to me there are no non-lift level or uphill segments. The rider can stop anywhere, so surely they must be able to restart. Clearly I need to ride one. But, even if the result is a continuous 200' drop, I just find it too at odds with "hyper" as used as a marketing term to apply it.


Advisory Panel
Mar 16, 2016
I’m honestly confused what the argument is anymore.

Just a point of reference:
Great Bear at Hershey (IIRC) has a lift height of 90’ and a drop of 124’ measured post helix.

Steel Phantoms hyper status isn’t from 1st drop to bottom of 2nd drop. It comes from the continuous 2nd drop.

So using these things as a basis, a hyper/Giga/strata status can be assumed to be from a continual unbroken element of a drop. Given things like lifts, break runs, helix’s, and flat spots break the drop then alpine coasters can’t be classified as a hyper/Giga.


BGW Eggspert
Sep 23, 2009
I've created a simple illustration to show why the coaster height stat and the hyper/giga/strata classifications that we assign based on that stat would be worthless if they required a height above grade measurement instead of a drop height measurement.

Scenario: A park is built around a canyon with a depth of 200-some-odd feet. The park wants to build a hyper coaster. In this topsy-turvy world, people use a coaster's highest point above grade as the coaster's height and, subsequently, a hyper coaster must have a highest point 200 to 300 feet above grade. The park is offered two different canyon-traversing drop designs.

The first drops riders 250ft into the bottom of the canyon and the coaster reaches a top speed of 80 miles per hour. Unfortunately, this design only ends up with a highest point above grade of 50 feet meaning that, in this crazy coaster classification world in which this scenario is set, the first option is not a hyper coaster.

The second option gently drops riders 50 feet while slowly crossing the canyon. This drop reaches a top speed of about 35 miles per hour but, since at its highest point above grade the coaster track is 250 feet above the canyons floor, in this twisted, demented, thankfully-fictitious world, option two is a hyper coaster.

Screenshot_20210511-094246_Keep Notes.jpg

Our fake canyon park really isn't very successful and, unfortunately, could have never afforded an intense, thrilling, high-speed roller coaster as depicted in the first drop design depicted above. They also really wanted to be able to advertise that their new coaster is a hyper coaster in hopes of competing with the Six Flags park 2 hours away. With these considerations in mind, Lil' Canyon Park & RV Resort management opted for the first design: a cheap, meandering, kiddie, hyper coaster that calmy crosses high above their signature geological feature. Not only is Canyon XL 200 a relaxing sight-seeing ride for the whole family, but in this "seriously guys, this is why we don't measure coaster height this way" world, it's a hyper coaster too!

Now, we switch our attention to Six Flags Dust Bowl, just an easy day trip away from Lil' Canyon Park. Six Flags Dust Bowl is just an expansive, flat, empty field themed to "amusement park" and DC Comics. There's not a single hill, tree, river, lake, or anything else at all in sight. Six Flags sees Lil' Canyon's hyper coaster announcement and they're shocked. They've been trying to put Lil' Canyon out of business for years now and know they have to respond.

Six Flags CEO, Mr. Six, quicky calls up Boring & Mild, this world's premier hyper coaster manufacturer, and asks them what designs Six Flags Dust Bowl can quickly clone on the cheap. B&M pulls out two recent coaster drop designs that they drew up for a park that couldn't pony up extra for design exclusivity. The two designs are depicted below.

The first is a hyper coaster with a 250 foot drop, a max height above grade of 260 feet, and a top speed of 80mph.

The second design is a kiddy coaster with a shallow, Boring & Mild Signature™ drop of 50 feet, a 60 foot height above grade, and top speed of 35mph.

Screenshot_20210511-094516_Keep Notes.jpg

In this hellish wasteland where coaster height = max height above grade and hence, hyper/giga/strata classifications are determined by max height above grade, in order for Mr. Six to add a hyper coaster to Six Flags Dust Bowl using one of the EXACT SAME CLONED DESIGNS from Lil' Canyon Park, Mr. Six would need to pick the exact design Lil' Canyon couldn't pick if they wanted a hyper.

Because of this awful height calculation and classification method, at Lil' Canyon, design #1, the high-speed, thrill coaster with an enormous drop, wouldn't be a hyper coaster while design #2, the low-intensity kiddie coaster would be a hyper coaster. Over at Six Flags Dust Bowl the exact opposite is true: design #1 is a hyper coaster and design #2 is not.

End scene.
Last edited:
Mar 18, 2017
^^-- the in the case of Magnum, it may be 200' above any point of the land it is placed on. Your example is a good one for the speed test.

So using these things as a basis, a hyper/Giga/strata status can be assumed to be from a continual unbroken element of a drop. Given things like lifts, break runs, helix’s, and flat spots break the drop then alpine coasters can’t be classified as a hyper/Giga.

Neither Smoky Mountain or the Glenwood coasters have their prime ride time broken by lifts or break runs. There are no level spots best I can tell or logically, and typically little change of downwards slope whether the track is straight or curved. I don't know the elevation change though. If 2500 feet of track slopes down at 5 degrees, the total drop would be 217 feet. 7 degrees, 304'.

Re: Phantom's Revenge
If the hill between the drops was reduced by 30 feet, by the single drop definition it would not be a hypercoaster, even though the combined drop would be less interrupted.

Re: " I’m honestly confused what the argument is anymore." Semantics, definitions, not very interesting, kind of exhausted.
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