Fresh from receiving an IAAPA award for its Free Fly Coaster, S&S Worldwide has exciting plans for 2010. Park World has a quick chat with vice-president of sales and marketing Kevin Rohwer (pictured).
As we approach the 2010 season, how confident are you about the economy and its impact on the amusement industry?
We are very optimistic about the economy, and our confidence in the industry is reflected in the products we have introduced and will be opening in 2010. Indeed, 2009 and 2010 will be our biggest years ever in terms of coaster installations. We’re looking forward to delighting the parks and their guests with our high-capacity, smooth-riding coaster experiences.
What interest have you had in the Free Fly Coaster since it opened in Sweden?
It’s been amazing. We are in discussions with several parks about 2011 openings.
What different variations of the Free Fly and EL Loco coasters can you offer?
The great thing about both these coaters is that we can produce them as either a relatively “tame” family ride or as a serious high-thrill experience. Although neither of them are launched coasters, they both offer great flexibility as we can design the track and ride elements to fit any park site’s topography, budget or desired ride experience.
What is the status of Ring°Werk at the Nürburgring in Germany?
S&S is ready to move forward and open the coaster for this season, but the exact opening date will be determined by the Nurburgring racetrack.
Please tell us more about the new coasters you are working on for OCT in China?
The two rides, in Beijing and Shenzhen, will be the first of their kind in China and provide the best “launched” coaster experience …bar none! That’s what S&S has been doing for years! They will also feature our new four-abreast ride vehicle, designed in response to our customer’s request for a wider and higher-capacity coaster train. The design features beautiful lines and a sleek, race-car look, and each train is equipped with state-of-the-art restraints and machined wheel carriers.
What else can we expect in the coming year?
Any day now, we hope to announce a new coaster contract [see here]. The ride and its location will be fun, and an exciting addition to the amusement industry. Even though we are presently engaged in large coaster projects for several parks, our efforts in the immediate future will include further enhancing and adding to our line of tower rides and children rides.
S&S Worldwide is well known for its efficient and environmentally friendly air-launch technology, and has several high pedigree coasters to its name, including X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain and the world’s first coaster to launch at over 100 mph (161 km/h).
In November, the manufacturer’s Free Fly Coaster picked up the award for Best New Major Ride at IAAPA Attractions Expo in Las Vegas, as well as the coveted Impact Award. The first unit, named Tranan, was up and running last season at Skara Sommarland in Sweden (pictured above), characterised by its suspended longitudinally spinning cars outside the coaster track. The innovative design has won many fans.
Also in 2009, S&S unveiled its second El Loco coaster, at Flamingo Land in England. Mumbo Jumbo features a record-breaking 121-degree first drop, outrageous outward banking and a remarkably compact footprint.
S&S says both the Free Fly and El Loco can be customised to fit any park’s required thrill-factor, and it also has several new coaster products. Two new launched coasters will open this year in China (see main article), and the company’s pioneering air-launched tower rides remain a strong seller.