Category: Other

Sledgehammer turns 15 tomorrow… What a ride it’s been!

If someone were to ask you when you really became a coaster enthusiast, would you have an answer prepared? I certainly do.

For me, I can tell you that it all started on Wonderland’s opening day 2003. It was the first year my extended family stopped renewing their season passes so I was left to go with just my parents, a friend or two, and then eventually by myself. With visits to the park becoming less of a social thing, I was interested in learning more about the rides and the park by researching and joining online enthusiast communities.

Sledgehammer: Great Ride. Great Timing.

2003 happened to be the year when Wonderland added Sledgehammer. If you follow me on social media, you’d know it’s my favourite ride. Being the new shiny thing at a time when I was deepening my interest with the park made it one of those things I focused a lot on. I think I’d still become obsessed with it if it were a new attraction today, though.

The “Data Sheet” provided by the park in 2002-2003:

SLEDGE HAMMER DATA SHEET

Description

Sledge Hammer is a menacing, mechanical giant, cutting the skyline at an awesome 80-feet in the air. Its massive power will hurl riders through accelerated jumps and freefalls. Sledge Hammer – A monstrous thrill that will leave white-knuckled riders screaming for more!

Technology

Pound for pound, Sledge Hammer is one of the most powerful rides in the world. It is equipped with four 250-horse power hydraulic engines equivalent to 10 top of the line sports cars. Sledge Hammer’s rotation and potent elevation sensations are motorized by sophisticated dual sets of pressure accumulators that expand rapidly to provide smooth, yet surprising jumps.

Sledge Hammer is also equipped with the most sophisticated computer system in the entire Park. This system is responsible for choreographing the complex hydraulic and electrical systems that produce the calculated sensations of this unique thrill experience.

Capacity

Sledge Hammer has a capacity of approximately 1,000 riders per hour.

Ridership

48 (8 riders per 6 gondolas)

Manufacturer

HUSS, Germany

Industry Name

Jump 2

Opening

May 2003.

One of my earliest memories of Sledgehammer was queuing up for the first time. The park had posted a few construction photos on its website (when it still had a hyphen in the URL) but I didn’t quite gauge the scale of the project quite right. I remember looking up at it in awe, trying to take it all in. It’s such an fun ride experience with the added bonus of having all of these technical aspects of it that are so interesting to watch and listen to.

Problems? What problems?

Sledgehammer has a bad reputation among the public for being that ride that’s “always broken”. I, obviously, don’t like it.

There have been seasons where it’s seen some extended downtime but it has improved a lot over the years. With all of the experience the park has had running this ride, they’ve gotten efficient with resetting after a cycle goes bad. Of the 40+ visits I had last season, there was only one where I wasn’t able to ride due to downtime. There are other rides that had their bouts of downtime so I don’t think this ride deserves to be singled out as much.

This year, the ride wasn’t ready for opening day and I think it has to do with both the recent ice storm delaying things as well as some extra work that’s being done that isn’t typically performed every year. That’s just speculation but it’s rare to see the ride in the state that it’s in with the park open, with the slew ring sitting on the platform (pictured below) and wires dangling from the gondolas.

The ride did end off last season on a low note (a cycle went bad mid-day and it never reopened for the day or the Haunt nights following) so that may have encouraged some extra looks at the ride this off-season.

… So this downtime already in the season isn’t really helping my case for the ride… But at the same time, what happens to it when it’s down is fascinating to watch.

I love Sledgehammer because of its unpredictability and being able to see some of the ways they go about servicing the ride. It comes up with some new sound seemingly every year that sometimes become the norm. Then there’s the odd ride stop or e-stop that I enjoy seeing while simultaneously getting frightened by because of the unexpected loud noises. There’s also been times when I’ve been around to see them running unique test sequences.

This sequence is actually not uncommon to see throughout the season. I don’t really know what it does for the ride but I still like watching it.

My point is, the next time you want to bash Sledgehammer for being broken, at least take a moment to consider what a grand piece of engineering it is. It’s got a lot going on.

The Obsession is Real.

Social media has made it easy to let the world know how much I love this ride but I didn’t have social media back when I was a kid. (THANKFULLY.) Instead, I just let everyone around me know.

I drew this piece of… “art” back in elementary school sometime in the off-season before Sledgehammer actually opened. I was hooked before I’d even ridden it.

A couple years ago, I did something again. This model was made completely out of dollar store foam-core board, some wooden dowels, and paint. I originally wanted to be able to move it up and down by hand to pose it in different ways but that didn’t work out. Still, even with its flaws, I’m proud of it. I haven’t been able to make other rides that I thought would have been easier. I spend an unhealthy amount of time staring at this ride, I guess.

Happy Birthday Sledgehammer!

Sledgehammer opened to the public on May 4, 2003, which makes it 15 years old tomorrow.

It’s encouraging to see the park continually putting so much effort into keeping this ride alive, and I couldn’t thank them enough! Here’s to another 15 years!

A Pre-2018 Season Deep Breath

Let’s get going!

The weather this week has been brightening moods, just in time for a new Wonderland season! Season Passholder Preview Night, which I’ll miss again for another year, is tomorrow. Opening day, where I’ll be bright and early, is on Sunday. I can’t wait!

What’s the plan for opening day?

Playing with my camera, trying out the new rides, and catching up with my old favourites… Nothing new to what I normally do.

I’ve been experimenting with my camera over the off-season like when a new subway extension opened or just some strolls down in Toronto. I think I’ve been able to get better video quality out of the camera so I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to do with it at the park. I also picked up a small cheap action camera, mostly because I like the wide angle it can get. I’m not sure what I plan to do with it exactly but it’s still nice to have another new toy to play with at the park.

I’m excited to see what’s new around the park with Lumberjack and Flying Canoes, as well as the not-so-secret construction in Vortex lake. There’s also so many other things to see like Vortex’s new paint for the trains, and even merch things like the $7.99 opening day t-shirt and the clearance sale at All the Rage. I couldn’t be more excited… or overwhelmed. 😛

I’ll be posting from the park on Twitter and Instagram Stories. See below for more on that.

Where I’ll be!

I’ve always enjoyed seeing pictures by coasters enthusiasts around the world on social media so I look at my posts as a way to throw in my own contributions. I love sharing the park with many people who probably don’t have this Canadian park in their plans.

Here’s where I’ll be:

  • YOUTUBE: Making videos of Wonderland is one of my favourite things to do at the park so you’ll find me on YouTube.
  • TWITTER: Live-tweeting at the park is also fun so you’ll find me on Twitter again this year.
  • INSTAGRAM (Stories): I’ve given up on posting on Instagram but I really want to try using Instagram Stories this year.
  • BLOG: I’ll be here on the blog to share regular photo trip-reports throughout the season.
  • PHOTO GALLERY: The photo gallery will be making a comeback. Details soon.

I hope you’ll enjoy my pictures and videos, as I hide in plain view. Happy coasting!

#WhatsInTheBin (Part 2)

Click here for #WhatsInTheBin Part 1.

Continuing on with my #WhatsInTheBin series…

This nasty sweater zipper pull was my favourite thing for the longest time as I transferred it between clothes just so I could have it on me all the time. Eventually the loop on the top to attach it to things broke off.

To be honest, some of the little trinkets I have are things I found on the ground at the park. This is one of the tickets you could win at one of the park’s arcades.

A Cedar Fair game token. I’m pretty sure they’re moving toward a digital currency system, if they haven’t already. I don’t play in the arcades.

The card they give you when you have your photo taken on International Street. I’m not sure what they mean by “front mall and satellite location”.

The only time I ever get Fast Lane is when they give it away for free when you renew your season pass at the end of the season.

The Camp Spooky trick-or-treat map and colouring page was another thing I found on the ground… because they weren’t allowed to give me one.

The season pass cards I have through the years. The latest one I have is in my wallet, obviously, but I’ve been using the app as my pass so I barely ever need it with me anyway. Really the only time I do is to gain entry to ERT areas.


That’s it for #WhatsInTheBin. (Sorry.) Follow me on Twitter and Instagram as I’ll post individual things from the bin as part of #ThrowbackThursday. Thanks for visiting the blog!