Hypercoasters are a small, but quickly growing, subsection of the rollercoaster world. The origins of the name are unclear, but the term 'hypercoaster' is used to refer to continuous-circuit roller coasters with a lift hill that exceeds 200 feet in height. The lift hill is always the tallest part of the coaster, with the exception of powered-launch coasters, where the car is shot from the boarding area without any sort of chain lift launch.
There are a handful of hypercoasters throughout the world. Below is a brief list of the more notable hypercoasters in the world.
The Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point Park, Ohio, USA, is notable for being the first true hypercoaster. It was built by Arrow Dynamics in 1989, and still ranks as one of the top coasters in the world. Magnum features three tunnels and a unique pretzel-shaped turnaround.
Magnum has been eclipsed in size in its own park by Millennium Force, the first coaster to top 300 feet for a continuous circuit coaster. Designed and built by Intamin AG, it features a new elevator style of lift hill, as opposed to the typical chain lift.
Built by Giovanola, Goliath was for a short time the tallest continuous-circuit coaster in the world, standing at 235 feet with a 255 foot first drop into an underground tunnel. It was eclipsed three months later when Millennium Force opened. You can ride the Goliath at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California, USA.
Steel Phantom was also built by Arrow Dynamics and has been running since 1991 at Kennywood Amusement Park just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. Steel Phantom is unique in that its second drop is down a hillside through the structure of another coaster. The second drop is long enough to classify Steel Phantom as a hypercoaster. Sadly, Steel Phantom was dismantled and replaced at the end of the park's 2000 season.
The Pepsi Max Big One
The Pepsi Max Big One is another Arrow coaster. The Big One features an incredible first drop that swoops to the right, after teasing you with a look at your seemingly imminent demise on the sandy beach at Blackpool. It is a wonderful ride and an engineering marvel. Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Lancashire, England is an amazingly compacted park, and the construction of this monster coaster among all the other rides is a tribute to the skills of the engineers involved.
Wild Thing is the first hypercoaster designed and built by DH Morgan Manufacturing. It snakes along County Road 101 in Shakopee, Minnesota, USA, assaulting the eye with its obtrusive lime green and pine green structure. Wild Thing caused major traffic problems during its construction, due to driver rubber-necking1.
There are, of course, other hypercoasters around the world, and more are being built every year. Eventually they will be nearly as commonplace as the typical corkscrew coasters that are found in almost all parks.