New roller coaster will flip you upside down 9 times

Forrest Brown, CNNUpdated 13th July 2019
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(CNN) — Riders have come to expect being turned upside down a few times on new generations of roller coasters. That's part of the thrill, after all.
But nine inversions? Isn't that a bit extreme for one coaster?
Well it's not too much for Kennywood amusement park outside of Pittsburgh, which is unveiling its Steel Curtain roller coaster that features a record-setting nine inversions. It's also the premiere attraction in an upcoming section of the classic park that's a salute to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"The Steel Curtain isn't like any other roller coaster out there, and we can't wait to start taking guests the world over for the ride of their lives," says Kennywood General Manager Jerome Gibas in a news release.
Steel Curtain's preview came Friday, and the coaster is set to open to the public on Saturday morning. Here's what you'll find when you travel there:

Steel Curtain superlatives

Nick Paradise, director of public relations and social media at Kennywood, passed along some of the record-breaking and noteworthy features of the coaster beyond the nine inversions, the most of any roller coaster in North America:
-- At its debut, Steel Curtain features the world's highest inversion at 197 feet (60 meters) in the air
-- At its highest point, the coaster is 220 feet tall
-- Maximum speed is 75 miles per hour
-- The coaster features 4,000 feet of steel track (about three-quarters of a mile)
Steel Curtain was designed by S&S Worldwide, and it crosses over midways and through Kennywood's Lagoon, a key feature of the park since it opened in 1898 as a small trolley park, Paradise says.

Let's play some football

Kennywood has found a high-speed way to tap into Pittsburgh's love for its Steelers.
The coaster is the main attraction in the upcoming Steelers Country, which will include "interactive games, retail and dining experiences designed to bring fans 'onto the field' in a way never seen before," Paradise says.
The remaining attractions in Steelers Country will open at a later date.
Pittsburgh residents Jack Thompson (right), 67, and his son, Gavin Virag, 28, won a contest to be the first riders on Steel Curtain. This is their reaction at the end of the ride on Friday, July 12, 2019.
Pittsburgh residents Jack Thompson (right), 67, and his son, Gavin Virag, 28, won a contest to be the first riders on Steel Curtain. This is their reaction at the end of the ride on Friday, July 12, 2019.

What's it like to ride Steel Curtain?

Kennywood held a contest for coaster fans who wanted to enjoy those debut rides on the preview media day early Friday morning (we're talking 6 a.m.). Contest winners showed up in black and gold, according to CNN affiliate KDKA, for rides in the coaster's football-shaped seats. Members of the Steelers football team were also there.
Pittsburgh residents Jack Thompson, 67, and his son, Gavin Virag, 28, were two of the lucky winners for that precious first ride. They say they've been on hundreds of coasters together and may go to Kennywood up to three times a week.
Thompson's chiropractor has told him to avoid stressful activity, but apparently, that doesn't involve coasters in Thompson's mind.
So what's their review of Steel Curtain?
"It's absolutely phenomenal," Thompson said. "It's such a smooth ride. It's absolutely great.
"Even with the inversions and the banana rolls in it, it's so smooth [that] it's almost a family coaster ride. Anyone could ride it, absolutely."
Virag thought all those inversions might make him sick, but that didn't turn out to be the case.
Steel Curtain has "a steep, intimidating lift hill. And a drop unlike anything I've ever seen." But even the "packed, tight inversions," Virag said the ride was very smooth, and he and his dad ended up taking seven rides on Friday.
People may be "really scared" before the ride, Virag said, but they'll "want to get right back on it."
Kennywood, 4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin, PA 15122; +1 412-461-0500