Winter Withdrawal

For coaster enthusiasts, living in the Midwest has its ups and downs (no pun intended). During the coaster riding season, from April to November, we are in “coaster heaven.” Indiana Beach, Holiday World, Kings Island, Cedar Point, Michigan’s Adventure and Kennywood are all within a reasonable drive. Throw in the smaller parks, such as Waldameer, Jungle Jack’s Landing, and Beech Bend, you have over seventy different roller coasters to try. There’s a different style and flavor for everyone! Classic wood, steel loopers, family coasters, stand-ups and custom coasters! You name it, we got it! CCI, B&M, Zamperla, Vekoma, Pinfari, Arrow, Intamin, Togo, Schwarzkopf, John Miller and Charlie Dinn, just to drop a few names. Spring, summer, fall we ride ’em all!

Ah, but come September when there is a chill in the air, the leaves begin turning color, and one by one all of our marvelous amusement parks close for the season. No more Raven air, no magnificent Millennium Force! No Shivering Timbers surprises, no roar of the Beast. Usually, our last shining, glimmer of hope before a long, cold winter is Kings Islands closing weekend or Cedar Point’s Halloweekends. From November to March is a long, long time and undoubtedly come December, the dreaded “Coaster Withdrawal Syndrome” sets in. Many of us “snow birds” head south for a bit of a respite in Florida during the holidays. This helps but is only a temporary reprieve.  But all too soon, we are back up to our knees in snow and longing for the clackity-click and the wonderful aroma of grease from a chain lift. We haven’t hit the lottery, so trekking back south is out of the question. I need my coaster fix but what do I do? Luckily, I found one solution for a winter coaster-like thrill!

Pokagon State Park is located in Angola Indiana, approximately six miles from the Indiana Toll Road (I-80). The park, on the shores of Lake James and Snow Lake, offers opportunities for outdoor recreation all seasons of the year. Boating, skiing, swimming, hiking and camping are available. If there is enough snow, cross-country skiing is also very popular. But, what interests us coaster enthusiasts the most is to drive to Pokagon early on a cold Saturday morning in February to ride the park’s Toboggan Run.

Currently, we are in the middle of the winter Olympics. You may have been wondering what it is like to take a trip down the luge and bobsleds track. This may be the closest you will ever get.

The Toboggan Run is a 1,780-long refrigerated twin track thriller, where riders reach speeds in excess of 40 mph. While the course doesn’t feature any twists or turns, it does have a fairly steep first drop, a nice, sloping second drop and several bunny hops that provide a bit of airtime! Toward the end there is a bridge crossing the track that provides a head chopper effect. The run also provides an added bonus; you get a nice workout carrying the toboggan back up the hill and it is uphill all the way.

The Pokagon Toboggan run is open weekends from Thanksgiving through the end of February. Hours of operation are Fridays 5:00 P.M. – 10:00 P.M., Saturdays 10:00 A.M. – 10:00 P.M. and Sundays 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Check out the POV video below!

What are your winter withdrawal solutions?