Even the most casual football fan knows that Pittsburgh is Steelers Country. The iconic team helps define the city and, regardless of its ups and downs, is among the NFL elite.
There will be ups and downs aplenty, as well as lateral G-forces, airtime and inversions – lots and lots of inversions – when Steel Curtain, the record-breaking, Steelers-inspired roller coaster opens at Kennywood, the amusement park just outside of Pittsburgh, in 2019. The highly anticipated ride will be part of a new football-focused land called, aptly enough, Steelers Country.
“We really wanted to make a splash with our next roller coaster,” says Nick Paradise, Kennywood‘s director of public relations, explaining the decision to forge a Steelers connection. “To our knowledge, this will be the first permanent [park land and ride] dedicated to a sports franchise.”
By partnering with the beloved hometown team, Steel Curtain (which is the name first bestowed upon the Steelers’ legendary defense in the 1970s) will undoubtedly make a huge splash. But the potent thrill machine will be scoring points in its own right.
It will stand 220 feet tall, making it Pennsylvania’s tallest coaster (and one of the tallest in the country). Interestingly, Phantom’s Revenge, another Kennywood coaster, is arguably taller. Although it only climbs 160 feet, it drops 228 feet into a ravine at the hilly park. Because of its longer drop and other factors, Phantom’s Revenge hits 85 mph, which is faster than Steel Curtain’s forecasted speed. But at 75 mph, the new ride will be plenty fast.
Steel Curtain’s most notable features (other than its tie-in with the Men of Steel) will be its inversions. It will send passengers racing head over heels nine separate times. That’s more than any other coaster in North America. Among the elements that will throw passengers for a loop will be a banana roll, a “Top Gun” stall (in which riders will experience zero-G sensations while hanging upside down for a few interminable moments) and a corkscrew that, at 197 feet in the air, will be the world’s tallest inversion.
When Phantom’s Revenge first opened in 1991, it was known as Steel Phantom, and it included four loops. Over time, navigating the loops at such high speeds made for a dicey ride experience. In 2001, Kennywood removed the inversions and gave its headlining ride a new name along with a new lease on life.
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