Members of American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) and local community supporters gathered at the mountaintop theme park in Glenwood Springs to celebrate the coming of Defiance, a new gravity-defying roller coaster, set to thrill adrenaline junkies starting in 2022.
With tunes of “Celebration” and “Rollercoaster,” blaring over the speakers, a sizable crowd congregated, grooved and sang along at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park as part of the official ground-breaking festivities for its newest adventure ride, Defiance, a custom-built roller coaster manufactured by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides. The new coaster will both defy and succumb to the effects of gravity for an action-packed and world-class thrill ride. As if the ups, downs, twists and inversions weren’t enough, the new ride will be perched on the edge of Iron Mountain with panoramic views of Glenwood Springs below, adding a heart-pounding element exclusive to America’s only mountaintop theme park.
“Defiance is sure to become instantly recognizable around the world for its incredible setting and unparalleled thrills,” general manager for the Adventure Park, Nancy Heard, said.
Coaster Aficionados Help Kick Off Ground Breaking Festivities
The Adventure Park chose August 20 for the ground-breaking to coincide with American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) annual Preservation Convention. Members are from all around the U.S. although ACE is based in Texas. Along with the thrill of riding roller coasters, the group also advocates for the conservation, appreciation and enjoyment of both classic wooden and contemporary steel coasters. During their visit to the Adventure Park, members had the opportunity to experience the Cliffhanger and Alpine Coaster, as well as the Park’s other rides.
Breathtaking New Ride Will Be Action-Packed
The new Defiance roller coaster will be built near other rides, another premier ride that has garnered accolades as the first drop ride to go underground and the park’s first themed ride! Defiance will feature a western theme and have its own set of jaw-dropping stats:
- 3-degree freefall, the steepest freefall in the Western U.S.
- 98-foot twisted top hat switch
- 111-foot banana roll
- 41-foot Zero-G heartline-roll
- Maximum speed is 56 mph
- Defiance will sit 7,160 feet above sea level, making it the highest looping roller coaster in the U.S.
Steve Beckley, Park owner, addressed the crowd with words of praise for the upcoming attraction. “We love the action; we love the small footprint, we love the vertical drop.” Beckley added that the new coaster will be able to provide up to 750 rides per hour. “The capacity gives us the opportunity for growth in the future and marks a turning point in our career as a theme park.”
Local Dignitaries Looking Forward to Defiance
Glenwood Springs Mayor, Jonathan Godes was also on-site to officiate the event and noted the impact the ride will have on the community. “The Adventure Park is known throughout the country and the world for all the great rides and cave tours up here,” he said. “Glenwood has been through a lot of trying times in the last year. Investment back into the community like this is what helps Glenwood Springs rebound.”
President and CEO of Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, Angie Anderson, acknowledged the prescient name of the new coaster, “True to the town’s original name—Defiance—we have defied the odds and will continue to defy the odds,” she said. “Defiance (the roller coaster) is going to pump even more greatness into our community and marks another page in the history of Glenwood Springs as a world-class tourism destination.”
Godes, Anderson, Steve and Jeanne Beckley concluded the celebration by tossing shovelfuls of dirt where Defiance will be located. Construction will be underway this fall and winter to pour the ride’s footings and build the loading station. Construction of the track will begin in April 2022 in preparation for the ride’s grand opening!
Learn more about all the rides and attractions at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park and make plans to visit today!