Today is the official kickoff of the NFL season. What better way to celebrate than a ride on the first roller coaster themed after a National Football League franchise?
I’m talking about STEEL CURTAIN, the new roller coaster at Kennywood Park just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If the yellow and black didn’t tip you off, the ride is themed after the region’s beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.
Steel Curtain is one of the most eye-popping new amusement parks additions of 2019. From the moment you cross the Monongahela River, you can see the ride’s unique peak sticking out over the treetops. Here’s what it looks like from the uphill parking lot….
And here’s another angle from inside the park….
The coaster stands 220 feet in the air with what feels like a near-vertical lift hill. Once you hit the top, you barrel-roll down a 197-foot first drop. That’s the first of NINE different inversions you hit on the ride – a North American record. What’s really special about this coaster is how they were able to fit a ride that takes you upside down so many times into this space. The ride goes back and forth through itself so many times. It’s remarkable.
Steel Curtain is another coaster from S&S Sansei Technologies. They’re the same company that created Maxx Force at Six Flags Great America this season. Once again, designer Joe Draves had to get really creative. The inversions on Steel Curtain come out of nowhere and pop up in really neat spots. For example, you hit a small airtme hill at one point, then you double back and hit a zero-g stall that travels on the underside of that airtime hill.
But the real accomplishment here? With all of these inversions and turns that snake around themselves, the ride never had me feeling dizzy or disoriented. In fact, I rode it about six or seven times that day. I lost count!
This was my first trip to Kennywood Park and I can see why it’s such a special place for so many people. In the shadows of Steel Curtain sits Racer and Jack Rabbit, wooden coasters that date back nearly 100 years. And the “park” part of the name is significant, too. With all of the trees, benches and how the paths snake around the grounds, you feel like you are strolling around an actual neighborhood park.
I will have a lot more to say about that in a future episode of my Coastin’ The Country podcast. I’ll have a full trip report, as well as a special story on John A. Miller. The Homewood, Illinois native was one of the most important figures when it comes to designing the modern roller coaster back in the early 1900s. Three of his legendary coasters are still at Kennywood and running strong. I will have a story on him and his remaining coasters soon on WGN Morning News.
Kennywood Park is open through the end of the year. You can find more information below. Don’t forget to subscribe to my Coastin’ the Country podcast and check out my full Kennywood Instagram story!
Kennywood Park | 4800 Kennywood Blvd, West Mifflin, PA | Kennywood.com | 412-461-0500