Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Ride That Spawned A Thousand Legends

I give you the most notorious ride at the Park, the Cannonball Loop- pictured here on one of the rare days it was operational:


Yes, it is a looping water slide. Crazy, I know. Rumors that someone got stuck at the top of the loop or that a dummy was dismembered during testing were just that- rumors. I think...

This was an enjoyable ride to attend, because most people were completely afraid of it, so you didn't have much to do but sit around and talk with your co-workers. Though if your co-workers were creepy, as they sometimes were, then it wasn't so much fun. Anyway, on the infrequent days that we had enough staff on hand and enough patrons in the Park to justify opening the Loop, the protocol went like this:

  • Manager and maintenance inspect the ride for proper water pressure, cracks in lining that could snag a rider, etc.
  • Employee volunteers are sought to test the ride. When no one volunteers, incentives (bribes) are offered, lunch, cash, a date with a Jungle Chick...
  • Eventually some poor fella agrees to be the tester. He (it was always a he) strips down to his shorts, removes any jewelry, is hosed down (for maximum slippery-ness) and off he goes into the tube, to emerge seconds later looking shaky and pale.

Once the ride was cleared for operation, the waiting began. Like I said, most patrons were too afraid (0r too sensible) to attempt the Loop. And a good portion of those who wanted to were nixed because of inappropriate attire- anyone wearing anything with zippers or grommets or anything that could possibly cause a snag was turned away. Too big? Sorry, you could get stuck. Too small? Ooh, you probably won't get up enough speed to clear the top, why don't you try the Bumper Boats instead?

If the rider got to the top, he (Again, the riders were mostly dudes. Read into that what you will.) suffered the final indignity of being sprayed with a garden hose. The top attendant then instructed the rider on the only acceptable ride position (on your back, feet first, arms folded across chest, ankles crossed), waited for the hatch attendant to check inside for any weirdness (cracks, water not flowing, etc), and then WHOOSH! Off they went. They made a godawful racket in there, with the bumping around and the screaming, but they always made it out alive, though no one was foolish enough to ride it a second time.

12 comments:

Colleen said...

Was this park really open and running these rides as recently as the 90s (or even the oughts?)? When did it close? I don't understand how this ride could exist in the sue-crazy modern era.

therese said...

It's mind boggling, isn't it? 1996 was the last summer under the old regime. A company called Intrawest bought it, cleaned it up and re-christened it Mountain Creek.

Andrew said...

Therese, congratulations on a great blog - I'm really loving the stories of park life. Seeing that slide made me nearly spit out my tea, I mean its clearly as if the designers were trying to outdo themselves with each new attraction - even the mini-golf had snakes...

therese said...

God, Andrew! Who doesn't appreciate snakes whilst mini-golfing? Keeps you on your toes! (Lest the snakes bite your ankles.)

00doc said...

The canon-ball loop was opened while Gene was still self-insuring. When the government caught up with him on that one and made him hire a real insurer they quickly shut it down. FWIW - I did ride it - once.

MR10 Driver said...

When i worked there (early 90's), this ride only opened when the park was jammed. This was supposed to cut some of the line lengths, but really...who would want to ride that thing!

njaco1215 said...

i remember it being opened for parts of one maybe two seasons when i was there in early 90's. I remember all the requests to get a test dummy to ride it. being on bumper boats often I wound up testing a decent amount of times. it wasnt as evil at many of the rumors claimed. just seeing pictures of it reminds me of climbing into the loop through the hatch to try to climb in and look for tears n things. ahh the good ol days

Zach said...

does anybody know precisely where in the park the cannonball loop was located? i've been to mountain creek twice this summer and i can't pick out the spot where that thing used to be. i was never actually at the place when it was action park, only mountain creek.

was it to the right of the waterpark entrance, or was it within the waterpark? though looking at some pictures it would suggest it was actually closer to the chairlift for the alpine slide (meaning to the right of the waterpark entrance) because you can see it in some of the pictures you can see the chairlift.

therese said...

Hey there Zach!

The Loop wasn't a part of Water World. It was in the Base Area. If you're facing the Cabriolet lift, it was to your right, near the connecting trail to the Triple Chair.

chris said...

it was just below the bumper boats that were operated by action park. may still be a small pond in mountain creek. the yellow lift in the picture was the " sky ride" when used in the summer. the alpine slide lift was a blue two chair that was left and slightly up hill from the loop

Zach said...

Ah, ok, thank you. The spot where the bumper boats were is all fenced off with a tall wooden fence now if I remember corrector (below the kiddie section).

They've really gotten rid of a lot of rides from the AP days the past few years. They shut down Surf Hill after 2005 (but you can still see it from the wave pool) and this year the Kamikaze slide was completely gone. It's quite a shame, but still a fun waterpark to spend the day at.

Anonymous said...

Holy crap ! I took my kids there when they were 7 & 10. They don't remember it. How can they forget that leap of death? Just how far down did people go in the water?
I jumped off with a tiny girl that was no more than 5. There were no adults around, no parents with her.
She was uber brave aand jumped off. Traction park was an experience !!!