Guest Review of Skyrush @ Hersheypark

Roller Coaster Reviews

Guest reviewer Aric has returned with another in-depth review. He was one of the first to ride Hersheypark’s new Skyrush roller coaster.

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Skyrush - Hersheypark - Lift HillI came to Hersheypark to ride Skyrush after a day spent using Fast Lane at Cedar Point. While in Sandusky, my daughter and I were treated to what essentially amounted to no lines on the big three, Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster, and my personal number one, the much loved/maligned Maverick. After journeying the remaining eight hours to Hershey, I reconnoitered myself to extreme rides, getting three on the venerable Storm Runner, and on a former favorite of mine, Fahrenheit. What is the point of all of this? None of these coasters, my favorite included, prepared me for the steel insanity that was Skyrush.

I rode Friday night, as I was one of the 26 Junior Researchers selected by the park to ride the new yellow tracked Intamin before the rest of the public. Along with the other researchers, a bunch of folks had won the opportunity to ride from local radio stations, and we were all gathered as the park closed in a catering pavilion, where a DJ entertained and we were fed pizza. As fun as that was, the coaster was looming over us as we waited for our turn to board. Finally, the announcement was made that it was time to ride, and my ears were spared a re-listen to, “Call Me Maybe” both very good things.

I rode in the second row, in one of the vaunted winged seats. I have to admit I was nervous about the restraints-more on this later-but it fit me quite comfortably in the station. In fact, I was getting used to the new found freedom of no floor and no over the shoulder restraints, when a ride op stapled me in far tighter that I ever would have willfully buckled myself. This indignity was enough to make me temporarily irritated, the second time it happened even more so, I was seriously in as tight as I could possibly get when the train got the all clear, and we roared up the lift hill via Intamin’s awesome cable system.

Skyrush Roller Coaster - Hersheypark

My hands were up as we crested the hill, and as we rocketed towards the bottom, the impossible happened, I literally felt as though I was coming free of my seat. The forces were nearly indescribable, so I’ll keep it simple. Massive ejector airtime. Not only on the first drop, but over every bunny hill, even on turns. The term airtime machine is overused, I know because I’ve ridden Skyrush, and this is the only coaster I’ve ridden that I think fits adequately into that category, despite thinking I understood the meaning prior to riding.

So far, early reviews suggest comparisons to El Toro, Bizarro, Expedition GeForce, and Intimidator 305. Admittedly, I’ve ridden none of them-though I will be on 305 in two weeks-but that is some serious company to be in. Hershey and Intamin not only have another winner on their hands, they have something even better, a world class roller coaster. Skyrush is beautiful, a joy to ride, and whatever its ranking ends up being, one of the absolute best in the world. A true airtime machine indeed, and an absolute must ride.

For me, this ride can be ranked only one way, as a 10, with a thrill rating of a VERY high 5, this is one aggressive beast, even as smooth as it is. Although Hershey lists 54″ as being acceptable to ride, I’m not sure all kids of that height, even coaster nuts like my daughter, should ride Skyrush, it’s just that crazy. Aric’s Final Rating – 10.0 (Superior)

Here’s a POV video of Skyrush at Hersheypark:

Note – This video was filmed by the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.

Intense Roller Coasters - For Adventurous RidersSkyrush is rated ‘IN’ for Intense. It’s a 4 out of 5 on the Coaster Critic’s Thrill Scale for of its height and speed that produce a very intense ride.

A Caveat on Skyrush’s Restraints

Skyrush Restraints - HersheyparkAlready the coaster world is abuzz with complaints over the restraint system used on Skyrush, the most common issue being that they are uncomfortable for some riders. Time to unknot your shorts, kids, these restraints are highly unlikely to be changing anytime soon and were designed like this on purpose. Again, not to overstate things, but there is a reason that they are so tight, and a reason why they aren’t the most comfortable restraint on the block. They are on the train to keep you alive. I’m sure there was a point where using something like I-305 restraints was considered, but with the openness of the trains, some out of the box thinking was in order. The Skyrush restraint controversy is a non-issue to me, because Skyrush succeeds so well at what it does, and if a little bit of discomfort is enough of an issue enough to keep you off of it, then at least the line will be shorter for everyone else.

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Varying Views on Skyrush

Aric has quite a different view of Skyrush than what we’ve been seeing from most riders on my early reviews post. What’s your take on Skyrush? Leave a comment below.

Read Aric’s other posts for his take on rides like Fahrenheit, Space Mountain, Maverick & more.

Also see this article from The Patriot-News including reviews from Mike of NewsPlusNotes, ACE members, Aric, and others: “Hersheypark’s Skyrush a Hit Among Roller Coaster Fans”

Images courtesy of JonathanHawkins.net. Read Jonathan Hawkin’s awesome Skyrush review and trip report here: Hersheypark 2012 Trip Report

77 Comments

  1. One word…. OUCH!! Kills your legs/thighs. Everyone was complaining…

  2. Having just come back from Hershey on a hot Sunday morning I can offer my thoughts on this newest addition to the sweetest place on earth's coaster family:

    I can say that I found Skyrush to be an instant hit and it has moved in to my #3 coaster behind MF and I305. I don't know what it was about Skyrush that spoke to me, I think it is the harness without any shoulder restraint. I aim to keep arms up entire ride and Skyrush really makes you feel like you might come detached from the car without having hands-on during flight.

    Now I have read through the comments and reviews and many people say they feel the restraints are painful on the thighs. I could tell a significant different in the pressure on my legs moving from the absolute front left to the absolute back right of the train with the latter being a noticeable discomfort – it was also my 4th time riding so it could have been a bit of wear and tear. Sitting here now 10 hours later I have no problems in my legs or marks or other pain that others have talked about.

    I would imagine I am subjecting my legs to even more damage by keeping my arms up the entire time and allowing the harness to keep me locked in without any help from my upper body but it really wasn't anything I would consider off-putting. I did have a lady next to me on the last run of the day who asked again and again "didn't that hurt your thighs?!" and I politely said "yeah, kinda" but felt otherwise okay. I am a chicken-legged sort of build however so I wonder if that plays in to the different experiences for riders.

    I'd score it a 10/10 with the best spots being the front left wing seat. Though it is not the most-intense part of the train (I'd leave the rear row for that) it has the best balance for a terrific ride.

    • The restraints probably didn't hurt as bad BECAUSE you kept your hands up. There is nothing in the restraint system that prevents a rider from constantly pulling the bar tighter and tighter. I noticed that the more I held on to the bottom of the metal bars (thus pulling up during airtime), the less the bars squeezed me. You probably were smartest to keep your hands up…but I was too scared to do so. Skyrush is the craziest ejector air I've ever experienced.

  3. I had the chance to ride Skyrush today. I really wanted to like the ride. While a bit short, a mini Intimidator 305? That's a great recipe for a coaster. Sadly, I must repeat what many people have said about the ride: the restraints hurt. I got two rides, one in the very back and another in the middle and the result was the same. I'm a skinny guy, and my thighs were killing me after we went over the first airtime hill. I rode with my 10 year old brother who's fairly small and he complained about it as well. The coaster had the potential to be awesome. In fact, up until the first airtime hill it was. The cable lift is insanely fast and the drop is among the best I've been on, as the airtime is of ejector quality. The train gets to the bottom of the first drop no more than 15 seconds after you leave the station. However, this is where the ride changes, as the intense turn forces the restraint further into your legs. This causes the airtime hills to be not only uncomfortable but painful. I rode The Voyage a little over a week ago, and while it's not exactly in the same category as Skyrush, The Voyage was physically demanding, but not painful. The rest of the ride proved to be similar, as the positive g's on the turns pushed on the restraint, only for your thighs to take the full brunt of the forces on the airtime hills. Once the train finally reached the brakes, the restraints had dug fairly far into my legs, and this seemed to be the consensus of my fellow riders. Again Skyrush has the potential to be an amazing coaster as the airtime is at an El Toro or Bizarro level, and the positive g's reminded me of Intimidator 305. It's unfortunate that the ride has to be ruined by painful restraints, and hopefully Intamin can work out a solution for this problem.

  4. I live nearby and have ridden 15 times. I LOVE IT! Fast, fast, fast are the only words to describe it. I've experienced mild discomfort with the restraints, but never pain. Pure adreniline. Wait times are also shorter than they look..

  5. There have been a few posts about leg pain, but has anyone else experienced shoulder pain on Skyrush? I rode abourt a week ago, and while exhilirating, I was in extreme pain the entire ride as if my shoulder had popped out on that first drop. I really thought I had a broken bone. While obvioulsy it was not broken, and there is no nerve damage, it still hurts and is obvioulsy tied to my ride on a winged seat in about the 6th row.

  6. I completely agree with Aric… This is a true airtime machine and one of the best coasters I have ever ridden. The restraints were tight but not painful and didn't detract from the ride, and I am not a small person. As for comparisons to I305, this is a completely different animal. Although I felt some of the same sensations on the twisties, I305 doesn't have nearly as much airtime as Skyrush. I305's main focus is speed, Skyrush's main focus is airtime.

  7. I absolutely hated skyrush. I stood in line for an hour only to exit at the end after being struck with fright, and I didn’t get to get the giant twizzlers from chocolate world,the only place they are available. Even worse I was embarrassed as hell. I got scared because a grown women and a few other peoPle got off crying and the woman ran off crying down the ramp. I think the age limit should be raised. Overall skyrush sucks and causes problems for quite a few of its riders

    • Different people have different thrill levels they can handle, and that includes adults. Last weekend I saw people come crying off Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce, but I'd never want to see it ripped out because of that.

      Part of the problem for both rides may be that so much of their impact comes from extreme negative g-forces, which you can't see, so they take people by surprise.

      Traditionally, amusement rides only limit ridership by physical size and ability to safely use the restraints; whether they can emotionally handle the experience is up to the rider, and I think that's the way it ought to be. I haven't ridden Skyrush, but it definitely sounds like a ride that is not for everyone. Fortunately there are a lot of rides to choose from at Hersheypark.

      • though some parks DO have age restructions on certican rides, to ride Blue Fireat Europa Park (Also home to the fantastically themed Woodain Timbur Coaster that also opened this year) you have to be the typical 54 inches AND at least somewhere from ten to twelve years old, and while that's the only one that I know about for sure, I'm pretty sure that tnere are more out there with age restrictions, just not that many of them,

        • That's interesting!

          Lake Compounce used to have a tube waterslide that emptied directly into the lake (gone now). I recently read that after an accident in which a young child drowned, they established an age limit for the slide (and also required that riders be "strong swimmers").

        • Along similar lines, you must be 18 or older to ride in the back car of Cyclops at Mount Olympus.

  8. FYI as of June 30 one of the two trains on Skyrush has had its restraints replaced with identical but heavier padded ones. They are not perfect, but a dramatic improvement (which bumped the ride up on my own personal list). I don't know if the other train has been modified yet, but if not I'm sure it will be soon.

  9. I stood for an hour in line waiting for Skyrush. One secured and losing the circulation in my legs I started wondering if the hour wait would be worth it. After cresting over the top and down my head was jerked to the left and got stuck for a matter of seconds without support. It took everything I had to lift it back to center. Then off to the right for not as long though. Then left again. In pain the entire rest of the day. Next day chiropractic visit reveals a nasty case of whiplash with bruising. Can hardly turn my head to the side or lean back and still sit this evening in horrible pain. The lack of upper body restraints and neck support make this coaster a -100 on a scale of 1-10. It’s down right dangerous how this coaster is designed and I hope someone doesn’t end up with a spinal cord injury before they reconsider the restraint system!!!

    • A girl I rode with on the tram said Skyrush whipped her head to the side and smacked her head on the restraint bar next to her (she was in a wing seat and hit the center seat). She did not suffer a concussion or anything, but she said it messed her up for the rest of the day. I did not experience anything like that, but the thigh pain alone was enough to make me not want to ride this again…but I'm excited to try the new restraints, and I want to try and only ride non-winged seats. They seem to be much smoother while still allowing for awesome airtime.

  10. Btw.. I was in the front row left wing seat.

  11. The restraints do hurt the legs if pulled down to tightly. I rode twice and the outside seats seem to get tighter than inside seats. Fun ride but my legs were hurting for a few days. Try not to pull on the restraints while the ride is in motion (make sure it snug) because they are like a ratchet they get tighter the more you pull on them.

  12. More neg G's than I've ever experienced, which was a blast. I was with my three sons and didn't expect much just observing the first drop from the line and knowing nothing about the ride. Quickly accelerating up the initial hill adds a lot of speed to the drop (75mph) then the ridiculous airtime begins. I was looking for something to hold on go as this thing was trying to buck me out of my seat.
    Not the tallest, craziest looking, or fastest coaster I've ridden but absolutely the most intense.
    I rode three times with zero leg pain, however one of my boys did complain about discomfort. A 10 in my book.

  13. I went to HersheyPark two weeks ago and had a blast. Being there when the park opened, my first ride was a front wing seat after about a 20 minute wait. It was incredible. With the line swelling, we decided to withhold judgment until after a few more rides, so my buddy and I circled the park for a leisurely un-crowded Tuesday of multiple rides on every coaster except Viper. That one wasn’t even on the “to do” list, it being a standard Vekoma shuttle looper that I’d checked off the list last century.
    The wooden coasters were fun, with the Comet showing evidence of track work and the ride proving it. Hopefully next year they’ll do a little work on Wildcat and Lightning Racer. They were a little rough, but still fun. My buddy had never been on several of these so he had even more fun than I did. After a leisurely lunch, many rides on everything and then a great meal following several rides on the Great Bear, we wandered back over to Skyrush. As anticipated, the lines when shorter, as dusk was falling rapidly and park goers were either elsewhere or beginning to leave. My 2nd ride, this time on the left wig was in the back. Still good and just as intense, but lacking the visual thrill of the very front. I’ll admit watching the twisting and turning train as it careened through that convoluted lay-out was fun though.
    Back in line, this time again for the front seats, night finally fell. My third ride, enhanced by the mildly dark sunglasses that I’d never gone back to car to change, was absolutely insanity. After that rapid drop, the rest of the ride occurs in that previously unexplored territory behind the Comet. With only a dimly lighted path below, that twisted layout showed no warning and no mercy as I felt almost helplessly ejected at the top of every rise, banked or not. For a brief moment, my hands descended as instinct took over. I thought I might go flying over the Comet towards the Boardwalk section of the Park. It was the first moment of fear I’ve ever encountered on a coaster and it was wonderful. After of hundreds of different rides, I’d achieved coaster nirvana. Of course, I got back in line and did it again, front seat and all. The coaster gods were with us that day, as every ride garnered a wing seat.
    That said, maybe the staff got their routine down pat. Boarding was swift, the staff was jovial and the ride incredible. (Yes, my NEW #1! Sorry Intimidator 305). I had no issues whatsoever with the restraints. I’m average sized, I guess; 165 pounds, 5’8” tall. No knee pain and definitely no head banging. Enough freedom to raise your arms comfortably and still feel secure, well, except for that wonderful but brief moment. So In my opinion, the anticipation and the hype were well worth it. HersheyPark and Intamin once again teamed up to come up with another innovative winner. Other parks may have more coasters, but none have as many good ones on their rosters. Taller, higher faster, longer has never been part of HerheyPark’s repertoire. Instead, they’ve succeeded with quality of design, imagination and innovation. I hope I can get back up there before this season ends!

    • Awesome review. I'm becoming more and more intrigued by this coaster. It's like people are riding two different rides. I have to figure this out, even if I have trek up to Hershey myself. Wow! Coaster nirvana? Maybe I'll make Skyrush my 250th coaster before the year's over.

      Thanks for the review!

      • You're welcome. Neither my buddy or I are spring chickens. ( I JUST turned 63) and we had a blast…. On Skyrush and everything else. The only coaster we didn't ride was Sidewinder, as that's the standard Vekoma shuttle loop that's the same ride every time. If a couple of near geezers of two opposite body types and heights had no problems, I'm beginning to think you've had an epidemic of wussitis here. I survived Hercules, the Beast, and Mean Streak after they aged horribly. This was smooth, but VERY intense. Not for the poseur, I suppose. I'll be curious about your take on this, as it sames there are two very distinct camps here.

    • We could have penned the same review. Not only did I get the same sensation – I too am a big i305 fan. I hope the ride remains untouched in the off-season

  14. I rode skyrush when I was at hersheypark yesterday, and I have few good things to say about it. The ride is just painful. Yesterday, I waited about 30 minutes to for on it. I was in the 5th row, on the rightmost seat. The second the restraints came down, I wanted to get off. The bar was crushing my legs, and the ride hadn't even started. The lift is so fast, it takes 8 seconds to go up it, and it's 200 feet. I rate the ride a four, with the saving grace being the lift and first drop.

    The ride is unexciting and just painful with the bar crushing your legs. There is absolutely no airtime, except for the tiniest bit on the last airtime hill. The only moments I can remember on it was when we were in the really twisty parts, where I felt like the restraints press down even harder! After the ride, my legs just hurt a little bit, but as for my friend, his legs hurt so much her could barely walk. I had to half drag him out of the station!! Skyrush is more of an intense ride that you go on once just to say you rode it, not for the fun. Now I know that this is a very negative review and it's an opinion. If they changed the restraints, It would probably get an 8.5 from me

  15. All yeou have to do its move forward a little in the seat so the pressures on your hips. if you sit back the whole way then your thighs take the impact. it hurts less if the restraints on your hips. plus the Gs build up the further back on the train you go. ive rode the very back multiple times on the left wing seat. i felt like i was gonna lean out of my seat and i was leaning over so much my head wasnt in the picture. then i tried to keep my hand up on the 3rd row. it was surprisingly smoother. I like it and i think its the Beginning of great things and great coasters for Hersheypark. I score it a 10 out of 10

  16. Don't know if it was really rough or just more intense than I've done before. LOVED the first hill, speedy lift, and all the airtime. Overall, maybe a little rough for my taste, but for my kids (10 and 12) it was wonderful… my 12 year olds new favorite. I rode in the front and also the once in the middle… only painful experience was shortly after first hill (my favorite part by far) getting my neck jolted off the head rest. spent the rest of the time making sure I didn't let that happen again! My only recommendation to Hershey is to add a new intensity rating… this one certainly deserves a more intense rating than most of the coasters in the park… maybe all of them except Stormrunner. I think the 54 inches is sufficient… I have 2 FEARLESS riders, one more tentative. I personally would never let her ride something I hadnt ridden to preview. With my fearless kids (one of them is 55 inches, so barely made it) intensity is a non-issue. He could have handled it 2 years ago… just wouldn't have fit safely! I would really HATE to see the height changed. For an average 10 yo coaster enthusiast, there is nothing they wouldn't try… so if the harness fits, let them ride!

    • If I recall correctly, Hersheypark gives the sooperdooperLooper their highest intensity rating, which just seems wrong (it's probably the old notion that any kind of inversion automatically bumps a ride to the top tier).

      I can imagine someone who lumps that and Skyrush into the same category getting a nasty surprise.

  17. I went to HersheyPark about three weeks ago and had a blast. Being there when the park opened, my first ride was a front wing seat after about a 20 minute wait. It was incredible. With the line swelling, we decided to withhold judgment until after a few more rides, so my buddy and I circled the park for a leisurely un-crowded Tuesday of multiple rides on every coaster except Viper. That one wasn’t even on the “to do” list, it being a standard Vekoma shuttle looper that I’d checked off the list last century.

    The wooden coasters were fun, with the Comet showing evidence of track work and the ride proving it. Hopefully next year they’ll do a little work on Wildcat and Lightning Racer. They were a little rough, but still fun. My buddy had never been on several of these so he had even more fun than I did. After a leisurely lunch, many rides on everything and then a great meal following several rides on the Great Bear, we wandered back over to Skyrush. As anticipated, the lines when shorter, as dusk was falling rapidly and park goers were either elsewhere or beginning to leave. My 2nd ride, this time on the left wig was in the back. Still good and just as intense, but lacking the visual thrill of the very front. I’ll admit watching the twisting and turning train as it careened through that convoluted lay-out was fun though.
    Back in line, this time again for the front seats, night finally fell. My third ride, enhanced by the mildly dark sunglasses that I’d never gone back to car to change, was absolutely insanity. After that rapid drop, the rest of the ride occurs in that previously unexplored territory behind the Comet. With only a dimly lighted path below, that twisted layout showed no warning and no mercy as I felt almost helplessly ejected at the top of every rise, banked or not. For a brief moment, my hands descended as instinct took over. I thought I might go flying over the Comet towards the Boardwalk section of the Park. It was the first moment of fear I’ve ever encountered on a coaster and it was wonderful. After of hundreds of different rides, I’d achieved coaster nirvana. Of course, I got back in line and did it again, front seat and all. The coaster gods were with us that day, as every ride garnered a wing seat.

    That said, maybe the staff got their routine down pat. Boarding was swift, the staff was jovial and the ride incredible. (Yes, my NEW #1! Sorry Intimidator 305). I had no issues whatsoever with the restraints. I’m average sized, I guess; 165 pounds, 5’8” tall. No knee pain and definitely no head banging. Enough freedom to raise your arms comfortably and still feel secure, well, except for that wonderful but brief moment. So In my opinion, the anticipation and the hype were well worth it. HersheyPark and Intamin once again teamed up to come up with another innovative winner. Other parks may have more coasters, but none have as many good ones on their rosters. Taller, higher faster, longer has never been part of HerheyPark’s repertoire. Instead, they’ve succeeded with quality of design, imagination and innovation. I hope I can get back up there before this season ends!

    • I agree that Skyrush is an incredible ride, and one of the best coasters I have ever ridden. I might be biased because Hersheypark is my home park, but their lineup of coasters is unbeatable. They have a great variety of coasters that will please novice riders as well as daredevils. Skyrush, Fahrenheit, Great Bear, Storm Runner and Lightning Racer are all world-class as far as I am concerned. Wildcat is too rough for me, and they need to either do some major work on that ride or demolish it. Even the park's ride ops bad mouth the Wildcat. Also, the lame Vekoma Boomerang coaster is called Sidewinder, not Viper, but I understand the confusion because there are dozens of these coasters around the world.

      • Oops. Yup. it's the Sidewinder. It's Viper somewhere, but after far too many, I can't remember where. I agree that Hershey definitely ranks in the top 5 nationally. and not just for coasters. Folks look at me like I smacked my Momma when I say I prefer it over Cedar Point. Cedar Point is pushing close to twenty coasters on their roster but I like 5 of them. Hershey on has twelve, but I can enjoy eleven (depending on that year's woodie maintenance.) Just do the math.. It's little bit further than Six Flags America for me, but I happily consider it my home park as well.

  18. Is Skyrush opened for Hershey Park after Dark

    • They usually open all of the coasters for this event. I sincerely hope Skyrush will be open this year.

    • YEs, it was this past Sunday

      • Thanks.

  19. Is Skyrush opened for Hershey Park after Dark?

  20. Sorry for posting twice.

    • Probably. It's their new baby so I figure it's the main draw.

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