Gravity Group Restoring Grizzly at Kings Dominion
Kings Dominion is enlisting the help of The Gravity Group to perform track work on Grizzly to make the 40-year-old wooden coaster smoother, faster and more thrilling.
Opened in 1982, Grizzly stands 87 feet tall and stretches 3,150 feet in length. The wooden coaster was designed by Curtis D. Summers and was built in-house by Kings Dominion staff. It closed after Labor day last year (2022) to start the refurbishment project.
Gravity Group is using its newly engineered precut track, which the company touts as being 30 times stronger than the traditional wooden coaster track. Gravity Group is able to precision cut the track at their own facility in the exact shape needed for the ride, and then just assemble the pieces on-site. They say the new stronger track will provide a smoother ride and be more maintenance friendly.
Along with the new track, the Gravity Group team is also making some updates to the layout. In particular, the first drop is getting a little longer and a little steeper. Grizzly’s drop doesn’t go all the way to the ground, so Gravity Group had the space to extend it down a little bit. To do that, they’re changing the drop angle from about 45 degrees to about 55 degrees.
Gravity Group is also redoing the size and shape of some of the hills in other spots to increase the thrill and pacing. Additionally, they’re changing some of the banking on the turns to make the transitions smoother. Finally, they’re also using a support design that will add some new head choppers to the ride. Check out the video from Kings Dominion below for more details from Gravity Group about all the changes.
This isn’t the first Gravity Group project with their new precut track for Cedar Fair. They used it on the refurbishment of The Beast last year, and they used it on Kings Island’s Racer in 2021.
In November, the park shared on its blog that the coaster was closed for repairs with photos of the coaster missing large sections of track. You can check all of that out over on the Kings Dominion blog.
What an informative article and video. Superb explanation of the various engineering forces and techniques at play in refreshing and reinvigorating the classic ride. Thank you to the writer and engineer who explained it all so well.