Loyal readers know I usually write about themed attractions on this blog. Immersive environments are what I’m seeking when visiting amusement parks. But today, I’m going to talk about Helix. A fierce rollercoaster that impressed me for another reason than a storyline, advanced animatronics and massive rockwork. And believe me, this reason is good enough to dedicate it an express Quality Control review. Put your lap bar on, here we go!
A few months ago I had the chance to visit Liseberg. This lovely amusement park is located in the heart of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. Previously I’ve been sharing some love about Liseberg’s one of a kind, subtle and modern logo and visual identity they rolled out a couple of years ago. Make sure to have a look at it right here.
In 2014, the Swedish theme park opened Helix: a multi launch steel rollercoaster with seven inversions. It’s located on a hillside, so wherever you are in Liseberg, you’ll see this glorious ride dominating the landscape.
So what’s the deal with Helix you ask? What’s so great about it? Well, first it’s made by German manufacturer Mack Rides. When Mack introduced its first launch megacoaster « Blue Fire » in 2009 at Europa Park (owned by the Mack
family dynasty), it instantly became one of the top companies in this range of rollercoaster. The reason of this unanimous high praise: the remarkable smoothness of the ride and a surprising sensation of freedom (and danger!) on a rollercoaster with inversions because it only uses a safety lap bar instead of restraints over the shoulders.
Helix features so many thrilling elements including two linear launches, countless air-times, two corkscrews, a pretzel loop, a top hat, an in-line twist, a glorious zero G roll and a Norwegian loop. Seven inversions is quite a lot for my thirty-something body to handle but Mack Rides and Liseberg had the bright idea to ask rollercoaster master Werner Stengel (Expedition Ge force, Millenium Force, Top thrill Dragster, El Toro…) to design the track layout. The smoothness of Mack Rides mega coasters combined with the fascinating knowledge and experience of Stengel made Helix a rollercoaster that’s swift and intense but never compromises with solid comfort.
It’s actually super strange to notice that nobody seems to feel sick or even slightly dizzy after such a fast, shaky, two minute long (!) ride. You can see so many people ride Helix several times in a row, enjoying it again and again. Actually the only thing that could possibly prevent you to ride it again might be the Swedish ice cold wind that will make your hand skin crumble instantly.
Being able to combine intense thrills and unparalleled comfort on a multi-launch, seven inversion megacoaster is an outstanding achievement. For that reason, it just took me one ride to dramatically declare Helix my favorite ‘unthemed’ rollercoaster. From what I understand, Liseberg’s young CEO Andreas Andersen is a long time rollercoaster enthusiast – as this interview from CoasterForce makes obvious. And like we’ve seen on Oziris, the beautifully themed B&M inverted coaster from Parc Astérix, it really shows when attractions are designed by theme park nerds. Eh, I mean people who genuinely care and love what they do :-) Take note dear amusement park industry!
Although you really need to experience it to feel the difference, make sure to watch this video to get an idea of how great Helix is. And if you did have the chance to ride it already, feel free to let us know what you think in the comment section!