SANTA CLARITA -- With a fresh coat of bright white paint and new steel tracks set in shades of green and blue, the Colossus of old is now a newer, prettier version of her past.

But, boy, is she twisted.

That’s what coaster enthusiasts who rode the revamped Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain said Wednesday during a special preview day. The ride reopens to the public on Saturday.

“That drop was really something,” said Sydni Adeyemo, 13, who was among the first on the ride with members of the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita. “My stomach felt weightless, but, oh, it was fun. It was a very good ride.”

“It’s very different, but it’s better,” Kacey Umanzor, also 13, added.

Renamed Twisted Colossus, the updated coaster is a hybrid of the original wooden structure with an iron-horse steel track to give it a faster, smoother ride. The twists come after a steep drop. That’s when riders hit the “Top Gun Stall” — an inversion where the train slows while upside down. Two trains run side by side as they go through an overbanked turn facing each other, so that riders get a feeling they can reach out and “high-five” one another.

Twisted Colossus features 5,000 feet of track, making it the longest hybrid coaster in the world, said park President Bonnie Rabjohn.

With its crosshatched wooden frame, slow rhythmic ascent, dramatic pause at its 100-foot peak and 62 mph dive, the original Colossus was once billed as the fastest and tallest coaster in the world. The wooden attraction opened in 1978 featuring two identical side-by-side tracks.

Its height, length and speed landed it on the historical map of greatest wooden coasters, according to the Texas-based American Coaster Enthusiasts, and it was featured in dozens of television shows and movies, including “National Lampoon’s Vacation.” The original Colossus was one of 211 wooden roller coasters worldwide and was built by Bernards Construction, based in the city of San Fernando.

When it shut down in August, some Colossus lovers mourned and protested, fearing that it would be torn down and rebuilt into something different. A Save Colossus rally was held outside Magic Mountain, and organizers gathered hundreds of signatures on a petition.

But after seeing the newer version, some of those same protesters, such as Donald Patti, who organized the protest, have reconsidered.

“Of course, I know some of our members would love to see the all-wooden version still intact, and I for one will miss the music the wheels made when they rolled over the gaps between the boards as the trains rolled up and down the hills,” Patti wrote recently on the page. “But even the California missions have been upgraded and structurally changed to better withstand earthquakes, which included adding steel bracing. The twisted makeover adds at least 40 more years to the life of the ride, and that should make us happy.

“I for one can’t wait to take a ride and am jealous that the employees previewed the ride earlier this week.”

The newer version has kept the spirit of the old ride, Rabjohn said.

“It’s the best of nostalgia meeting innovation,” Rabjohn said. “It’s still like the classic wooden coaster, but I promise you, it’s not your daddy’s wooden coaster.”

Coaster enthusiasts agreed, saying that while they missed the rickety, old wooden ride that had been shut down last year, the new one lived up to the hype that had built up on blogs and websites.

“It’s breathtaking, one of a kind,” said David Sheffer, 42, of Orange County. Sheffer is a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts and called Twisted Colossus top of its class.

“The original Colossus will be missed, but this ride is in a new generation of awesomeness,” Sheffer said. “Six Flags has an absolute winner.”


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