New Roller Coaster at Great America is all Wood

Gold Striker is up to 55 miles per hour of pure wooden thrill.


Wood is good with roller coasters.

As in good and fast -- and good and loud.

Great America in Santa Clara is busy constructing a 150-million nail, 1.5-million bolt, 700,000-board feet of southern yellow pine monstrosity -- Gold Striker, which will be the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in Northern California when it opens May 1, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The coaster rises to a peak of 108 feet before it snaps through "serpentine switchbacks" at a top speed of 53.7 miles per hour. The coaster's 12 cars whip right past the line of people waiting to board -- "mussing [their] hair" and giving them a taste of what to expect.

Wooden coasters may not be quite as fast or slick as ones made from metal, but they're loud -- so loud they can be heard from a mile away, the newspaper reported. They also rattle and rumble a bit for the passengers in cars, adding to an adrenaline junkie's thrill.

The fastest wooden roller coaster in the world is El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, the newspaper reported. At 70 miles per hour, it also has the longest drop at 176 feet, the newspaper reported.

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