Linnanmäki’s spinning coaster
Finland’s biggest tourist attraction has just opened its seventh rollercoaster. Introducing Salama at Linnanmäki…
in the centre Helsinki, the park boasts an interesting selection of coasters, including the original wooden construction Vuoristorata and newer but unusual rides including last year’s Kirnu, an Intamin ZacSpin/Ball Coaster, and Tulireki, an e-Motion coaster by Mack with tilting cars.
Salama, the latest addition, is a spinning coaster by Maurer Söhne, which, due to the park’s limited space, had to be built over a rapids ride and partially intertwined with another coaster (a powered ride by Mack called Pikajuna).
Salama’s track is 420-metres long and reaches a maximum height of 17 metres. The coaster has six cars, each seating four-passengers in Maurer’s familiar 2+2 back-to-back configuration. The cars spin horizontally as they negotiate a series of tight “Mouse” style corners and additional steep hills and curves.
The ride was themed by Nick Farmer of Farmer Attraction Development, based on a religious Finnish saga called Kalevala. Salama means “lightning” and according to Farmer the name was chosen after a critical point in the tale, designed to symbolise the coaster’s interaction with the rapids.
“There is battle during a thunder storm between a witch who has turned herself into an eagle (the spinning coaster) and the heroes trying to escape in a boat (the rapids ride),” he explains. “The heroes are trying to escape with the Sampo, a mythical mill which grinds corn and salt to produce gold (represented on the ride as a fire-spouting ball). The ride’s identity is very Finnish.”
Entertaining over one million visitors a year, Linnanmäki is open from May until September, and a Helsinki institution. Bonus winter openings are also held in February and October, including the Carnival of Light from October 10 to 19. Admittance is free.