20 in 2020: Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce
It may be hard to believe that the turn of the millennium was twenty years ago, especially when it is grounded and defined by some notable coasters that we all know and love, which includes this entry in our 20 in 2020 series. If you aren’t from the New England area, you may not know too much about Lake Compounce, a relatively small park located in Bristol, Connecticut, but one thing is for sure: if you are a dedicated coaster enthusiast, you’ve heard of Boulder Dash, the park’s 5-time Golden Ticket winning wooden terrain coaster. The coaster is notable for many reasons, but it is famous for its low to the ground, deep in the woods layout and airtime galore.
This ride is also long and fast, having 4,725 feet of track, lasting 2.5 minutes, and reaching speeds of 60mph. That is impressively fast for a wooden coaster, and it feels even faster because the train is traversing low to the ground elements in the forest where the coaster is situated.
Something I’ve always liked as well as found intimidating about some coasters is how only certain parts of the coaster can be seen from the midway and queue. It adds a sense of mystery and intrigue, as is the case with Boulder Dash. Even more so because the queue is very long and situated in the woods (not as long as some of the queues we featured in this article, but certainly a bit of a hike) so that you get a very minimal view except for a small portion when the train returns to the station further down the midway.
Even when you’re on the ride, it is difficult to see exactly what is coming next, especially with the great long lift hill and turnaround first drop.
When Boulder Dash was being built, the park took extra care not to disturb the mountainous environments, and developed special cable and pulley systems to lift the equipment into place. The coaster was built by Custom Coasters International, or CCI, a manufacturer known for other well-known woodies like the Boss at Six Flags Saint Louis, Legend and Raven at Holiday World, and the two wooden coasters at the newly saved Indiana Beach.
Boulder Dash cost 6 million dollars to build, and was designed by Larry Bill, the designer of most of the above mentioned coasters as well as Ghostrider at Knott’s Berry Farm and the former dueling coaster Twisted Twins at Kentucky Kingdom.
The Golden Ticket Awards have named Boulder Dash the #1 Wooden Coaster in the World five times total: once in 2004 and four times in a row from 2013 to 2016. Surprisingly, the lowest Boulder Dash has ever ranked in the Golden Tickets was in its opening year of 2000, when it ranked as number 12. After that, Boulder Dash has not fallen below number 5 since.
Lake Compounce has done a great job upkeeping the coaster, and it has received various retrackings in the years 2007, 2008, 2009 and a major patch to certain sections in 2017.
Overall, Lake Compounce has a great top two coasters in their park since the addition of Phobia Phear Coaster, their Premiere Skyrocket II model. Phobia is one of the only Skyrocket IIs to only feature a lap bar without the “comfort collar” and it makes for a very thrilling experience. However, even with the modern thrill, Boulder Dash reigns supreme at Lake Compounce, and has made the park a mandatory stop on any Northeast coaster road trip.
Have you ridden Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce? Share your thoughts in the comments below and be on the lookout for the next entry in our 20 in 2020 series!