Viper has always been one of my favorite roller coasters at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. I’ve been riding it every year since it opened in 1995. It was modeled after the Coney Island Cyclone, a coaster I’ve never been on but I hear is a back-breaker. Can’t wait to try it for myself some day.
When I heard SFGA would be running Viper backwards this year, I knew it was something I had to try. The thing I love about Viper? No matter how many times I’ve been on the thing, it still surprises me. It seems to pick up speed in spots where you’d think it would be slowing down. Every car on the train gives you a different ride – the front REALLY hangs on the first drop, while the back REALLY gets whipped down that hill.
The folks over at SFGA were kind enough to invite me over to give it a spin, even to hook up a GoPro so I could record some video of myself baking in the 90 degree sun while screaming for about 90 seconds. The video of my full ride, along with the official Viper Backwards (Repiv) POV, is in the video player above.
So what is the better ride – Viper or Repiv? Riding this coaster backwards is a blast. It makes a surprising ride that much more unpredictable. But it can’t top going forwards. Some of Viper’s biggest strengths are all of the “obstacles” in your way as the coaster coils inside of itself. Also, the airtime didn’t feel as strong riding in the opposite direction.
But Repiv is well worth the experience. The team at SFGA tells me they are extending its backwards run through Labor Day. The American Eagle will also be running backwards this fall.