News

State's biggest roller coaster is on its way

By PAT JENKINS

Editor

Federal Way will have a new tourist attraction and Enchanted Village will have a new claim to fame when the amusement park opens the state’s biggest roller coaster this summer.

Called the TimberHawk, the park's first wooden-construction roller coaster –– and the first wooden one built in Washington in 68 years –– will stand 75

feet at its two highest points and send riders through 20 crossovers, 12 curves, 12 drops, six reversals and a 60-degree banked turn in 90 second and at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour.

"Get ready, roller coaster fans," said Lenny Freund, general manager of

Enchanted Village and Wild Waves.

Construction began in January and is expected to be finished in time for an early-June debut. The new attraction is expected to draw more people to Federal Way for turns at the amusement rides and water park, already a long-standing regional attraction owned by Six Flags.

The TimberHawk, partly visible to traffic on Enchanted Parkway, will be on the east side of Enchanted Village.

"Wooden roller coasters remain the king of the amusement park, an

all-time favorite," said Paul Ruben, North American editor of Park World

magazine.

"The thrill" of the ride and the charm and allure of a wood-frame coaster make it irresistible, said Cathryn Schmit, director of marketing for Enchanted Village. Older adults remember their experiences as kids on similar rides, and children of today simply get a charge from the swoops and jolts, she added.

Coasters are "the king of amusement parks. Having this is another feather in our hat- –– a big feather," Schmit said.

S&S Power, one of several companies in the U.S. that specialize in building large amusement rides, is the lead contractor in the project and is using local laborers.

Other roller coasters at the park are the Wild Thing, built from steel, and the Klondike Gold Rusher.

Wild Waves and Enchanted Village’s 26th season will open May 18 and end Sept. 1. The 70-acre park, which added 10 new rides and attractions last year, employs more than 1,200 people seasonally and is considered a popular Pacific Northwest tourist destination. Six Flags doesn’t disclose attendance figures here or at its 38 other parks in North America, Europe and Latin America.

Editor Pat Jenkins: 925-5565, editor@fedwaymiirror.com

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