Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Blast From The Past - High Roller At Valleyfair!

In 1976 when Valleyfair opened its gates in Shakopee, Minnesota, the park consisted of 20 rides and attractions on 26 acres. In 1978 Cedar Fair acquired Valleyfair and invested millions of dollars in the park. Today it is the largest amusement park in the upper Midwest with eight roller coasters, a waterpark and more than 75 rides and attractions on 90 acres of land.

The oldest coaster in the park, the High Roller opened with the park. Designed by International Amusement Devices, Inc. and built by Rauerhorst Corporation this 2982 foot long L-shaped Out-and-Back woodie is considered a classic. High Roller was styled after the Cyclone that ran at Excelsior Park from May 1925 to September 1973, the park and the coaster were torn down shortly after the end of the 1973 season.

High Roller's rolling stock consists of two three row NAD trains with a single lap bars and individual seat belts. The NAD trains and the unusual fin brakes, they are manually controlled by the big levers as the trains entered the station, helped to make the coaster more unique than most of the coasters built in the 1970s. Throughout the it's early days High Roller offered a thrilling ride, with the return run and the right-angled dog leg being full of airtime.

The High Roller is historically significant in that it was one of the last coasters built by NAD/IAD and it still runs it's original trains, although they been modified over the years. Thirty-five years after the High Roller opened it still offers a fun ride and to me it's a thrill to ride any IAD/NAD coaster!