4 Facts You Don’t Know About Viper
A unique history of our record-breaking looping coaster
The first roller coaster to go upside-down in modern times debuted in California in 1976. Over time, innovations allowed steel coasters to take more dramatic directions. A coaster wars began and the 1976 original soon became outdated as taller, longer, and loopier rides surfaced seemingly overnight.
Arrow Development was at the forefront of this coaster war. Amusement parks around the world started a competition trying to “one up” the previous record holders. Triple-loopers spawned four-loopers, and then five and six followed. But Viper, presented by göt2b, at Six Flags Magic Mountain beat out the competition with seven mind-boggling spirals.
The first roller coaster with seven loops debuted at Six Flags Great America in 1988. At 170 feet tall, it was the world’s tallest coaster. The following year, Six Flags Great Adventure built a similar coaster three feet taller. In 1990, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Viper ended the sibling rivalry. These “seven-looper triplets,” as they would become known among the Six Flags family, shared the same seven inversions in the layout sequence, but the siblings just continued to grow taller with each installation.
Did you know?:
- At 188 feet tall, Viper was the tallest looping coaster in the world, and second only to a roller coaster that had been built with no inversions at all.
- When it debuted, television commercials teased viewers with a steady heartbeat with a tagline: “Pound for pound, the most frightening coaster on earth.”
- Over the years, Arrow Development became Arrow Dynamics. Viper would be the tallest looping coaster they ever built. Three other “cousins” from Arrow still challenge thrill-seekers of all ages at the park: Goldrusher (1971), Ninja (1988), and X2 (2002).
- Although it held the record for seven years, today Viper still stands among the tallest looping coasters in the world as it celebrates its 25th birthday.
*Tim Baldwin – editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, staff writer at Amusement Today and Communications Director for American Coaster Enthusiasts – contributed to this article.