Great Escape Coaster deserves an Olympic farewell

LAKE GEORGE, NY (NEWS10) – Monday was a day not often seen at Six Flags Great Escape. While the visitors let the summer end with roller coaster rides and longedly waited for the water park to open with temperatures of over 30 degrees, their last day of operation was coming up for a ride.

On Monday morning, a group of around 100 visitors were told that it was not exactly clear when the ride would be operational that day. Many Great Escape visitors and staff would tell you that such an incident was never uncommon for the Alpine Bobsled, a ride that is ending 25 years with The Great Escape this year. Still, the excited crowd was happy to wait.

“We love being there to say goodbye to a ride — especially a ride we love,” said Wade Abott, New York regional representative for American Coaster Enthusiasts. “It doesn’t happen that often.”

Nearly 100 visitors from American Coaster Enthusiasts arrived at the Great Escape on Monday to see and ride the Alpine Bobsled among the park’s roller coasters on its final day of operation. The driver’s retirement was announced earlier this summer, ending a career that spanned years with Six Flags Great Adventure and Great America before settling with The Great Escape.

Enthusiasts who came out were able to check out the ride an hour before it opened to the general public, heard park president Rebecca Wood, and took a picture in front of the purple and white half-pipe that makes up the ride. American Coaster Enthusiasts members came from New York, New Jersey and even Ohio and parts of Canada to see the attraction in action.

“We’re saddened that it’s over, but we will end it with a heartfelt farewell and celebration of long life,” Abott said. “I actually first rode this coaster when it was held at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey as a teenager.”

For a while it wasn’t clear exactly when these visitors would get on one of the three Olympic-themed sleds and take a ride. The Alpine Bobsled is a trackless roller coaster where the toboggans slide through the twists and turns of a smooth half-pipe and require careful testing to ensure they are ready for action.

Visitors could climb onto the catwalk on the first tier of the roller coaster and take photos from above. While they were there, the park administration decided they could do some testing – which soon told them it was indeed time for a series of rides worthy of the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics, which was the idea for the ride .

The farewell to Alpine bobsledding leaves a gap that creates space for an exciting premiere. In 2024, The Great Escape will introduce the new roller coaster, The Bobcat. Built by designers at Gravity Group, the ride will not only be the first roller coaster to come to the park since 2003, but also the first all-new wooden roller coaster to be introduced at a New York City theme park since 1999. Enthusiasts bid farewell to one legend, eager for the next.

“Bobcat seems like such an amazing roller coaster,” said Abbott. “(Gravity Group) builds amazing family-sized wooden roller coasters. This will be a perfect addition to the park and a perfect replacement for it.”

While the Alpine Bobsled is closed, The Great Escape remains open through September and October.

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