On the occasion of the launch of Europa-Park’s new wooden roller coaster “Wodan” in the upcoming season, it would be worth reviewing the woodies which have already gained a foothold in Germany, particularly as the number of these art works made of wood has rather been small so far. At present, only four German amusement parks have the pleasure of offering their visitors these attractions requiring high-maintenance.
Bandit, Movie Park Germany
Opened in 1999 as “Wild Wild West” this coaster, manufactured by Roller Coaster Corporation of America and the Swiss company Intamin and designed by Stengel Engineering, passes for Germany’s first modern wooden roller coaster. In view of its height of 28 metres and lengths of more than 1,000 metres “Bandit” ranks among the biggest of its kind. The course bears tight curves and much airtime. Sadly enough, as the years went on more and more unpleasant vibrations still continue to spoil a bit of fun. However, the amusement park is fixing these problems by a re-engineering and by replacing parts of wood. It is very much to be hoped that “Bandit” regains its original form, because the ride’s layout is simply classically great and one of the best a woodie can offer. Mammut, Erlebnispark Tripsdrill
Opened in 2008 at Erlebnispark Tripsdrill, “Mammut” is not as tall and fast, but it features a nice style theming in the sawmill – after all it is not about the extincted giant elephants, but about the eponymous trees. Ingenieur-Holzbau Cordes, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides and Stengel Engineering built this art work made of wood with an eye for detail. On the one hand it offers lots of thrills in order to satisfy hard-nosed roller coaster enthusiasts, and, on the other hand it is also suitable for the whole family in order to satisfy the amusement park’s main target group. The Swabians mastered this balacing act successfully using their knowlegde of manufacturing this ‘sawmill coaster’ traditionally. Colossos, Heide Park
Located in northern Germany, Heide-Park pursued with vigour in 2001 by launching not only the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Europe, but also creating a brand-new manufacturing process allowing the comfortable ride to be as smooth as possible. “Colossos” was born. The course characterized by an airtime sensation of more than two minutes begins with a drop of 52 m (around 165 ft) – concerning g-force, the colossus made of wood is hard to beat. Instead of tight curves and ‘twisted track clew’, the main emphasis is on high speed and the feeling of weightlessness while riding and is, therefore, not everyone’s favourite. Due to its commanding figure, no other wooden roller coaster in Europe can hold a candle to the eye-catching “Colossos”. El Toro, Freizeitpark Plohn
Germany’s smallest wooden roller coaster is situated at Freizeitpark Plohn in Saxony. Opened in 2009, this surprisingly terrifying ride built by Great Coasters International captivates with its breath-taking velocity. The maximum speed of approximately 75 km/h (around 46 mph) and the height of 24,5 m (around 80 ft) may not be that convincing, but whoever dares to ride the bull of Saxony will rapidly notice that Freizeitpark Plohn provides a piece of jewellery. In view of fun, the remaining German wooden roller coasters surely lack behind. Since the amusement park focuses mainly on families with children it is open to question whether this powerfull woodie was expected or not – in any case, the result turns out to be successful.