California's Great America, in Santa Clara, CA, released this past season their newest coaster, Gold Striker. In this thrilling wooden coaster, riders can have the experience of what being in a mining car is like when chaos takes over. This marks the fourth wooden coaster here in the San Francisco Bay Area. The others include The Grizzly from CA Great America, the Big Dipper from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and Roar from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. But how does this latest edition compare with the other coasters in the Bay Area.
For one thing, each has its own way of getting the rider to the lift hill. The least thrilling being The Grizzly which just goes gently around a curve. One of the most unexpected ways to get to the lift hill is from the oldest coaster, the Big Dipper. Here, the rider is literally dropped into darkness, curving around in the dark until emerging straight into the lift hill. Both Gold Striker and Roar have the fastest way of getting to the lift hill where the rider is almost pushed out into a mini coaster. This makes for a great hype as the rider is anticipating what will come next as they are carried up the lift hill.
Well, after the lift hill is where all coasters are expected to have their own ways of taking the rider on the ride of their lives. The least thrilling ride is The Grizzly where riders just go up and down on two hills and around some steep curves that make it seem that you might fall off. The next thrilling ride is the Big Dipper where you do go up and down on two big dips, and then some other smaller dips. The thrill comes from wondering where that next dip will come from. If you ride towards the back, you will really feel the dips because of the hang time involved. For more unexpected thrills and speed, Roar will make you feel great because of all the unexpected drops, twists, and turns.
Finally, Gold Striker is the fastest and longest coaster. Here, from the lift hill, riders go into everything that can be placed into a wooden coaster. There are more tunnels than you can count. The speed is so remarkable, where you don't catch your breath until the end. The best part of Gold Striker is how long and enjoyable the ride is. You almost don't want the ride to end. Next season, go and check this coaster out. You won't regret it.