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Slingshotting 216 Feet Up In Downtown Denver at Elitch Gardens

by Karol on June 22, 2011

This morning on the way to Elitch Gardens Kristin said “I’m a little nervous.” My response was “yeah, I get nervous too.” Little did we know what we were in for. :)

We met Jimmy, who would show us around the park, at the front gates and got right to it.

We started out easily enough at the Mind Eraser. It’s a “feet dangling in the air” thrill ride with some good twists and turns. (As you might know, I love the feet dangling in the air rides.)

Then we started walking towards Boomerang, which was next on my list. (3 coasters on my list here.)


Before Boomerang came The XLR8R, a free-fall swing that was not on my list because it’s not a coaster. But Jimmy wanted us to try it so with a little bit of apprehension we went for it. According to the Elitch website it’s the highest free-fall swing in Colorado. I’m not quite sure how high, but I’m going to guess around 200 feet.

The sun was shining directly at my camera so I didn’t get a great photo:

What happens is you get strapped into a harness and then hooked up to the swing. 1-4 people can ride at a time so Kristin, Jimmy, and I all went. Then you get pulled up to the top of that contraption you see in the photo. There’s a speaker up there and when it’s time you hear “3, 2, 1” and you have to pull a cord to go into free-fall.

Jimmy was in charge of pulling the cord and I kind of expected a hesitation. But it was literally “3, 2, 1 [PULL!]” and we were flying. If you’ve never done bungy or a swing or a sky dive the experience is exhilarating in a way that words can’t describe. Your whole body tenses up and you sort of feel like you’ll fly directly into the ground. :)

An adrenaline high like that is a pretty good way to wake up …

Twister II

Twister II is a classic wooden coaster. Lots of fun, long ride, beautiful, and not extraordinarily bumpy. I took about a dozen photos of Twister II, located here.


I went on the Boomerang at Knott’s Berry Farm, and this one was very similar. Boomerang definitely has the smaller seats that I don’t quite fit into. It’s really fun, but a bit uncomfortable and back-tenderizing. That said, after The XLR8R my back mostly stopped hurting. Must’ve been the adrenaline.

You can’t choreograph a better photo than this:

Photo: Jimmy, Kristin, and Me on the Boomerang

That’s a lie. I guess I did choreograph that. Saw the camera coming. ;)

The Slingshot

That was it for coasters, but Jimmy had one more trick up his sleeve. The Slingshot.

The Slingshot is a little contraption with 2 seats. You get strapped into a seat, rolled onto your back looking straight up, and then launched 216 feet in the air. I’ve seen these rides for years, but never been on one. I mostly expected that we’d get shot into the air and then come back down and that would be that. But, similar to bungy, you just keep bouncing. :)

It was so relentless that I couldn’t stop laughing. I wasn’t sure it would ever end. Towards the end I looked at Kristin and she had her eyes closed thinking we were going to get dropped down into another free-fall at any second. At that point we were being slowly lowered to the ground.

Suffice to say it was incredibly thrilling even if it wasn’t a roller coaster.

Lazing at the water park

It was a hot day in Denver so we ended up heading to the Island Kingdom water park inside Elitch Gardens and hanging out for an hour or so. Lounging on the lazy river was a good way to come down from the adrenaline.

Thanks so much to Jimmy and the Elitch Gardens crew. (Michigan represent!)

All the Elitch Gardens photos here.

Tomorrow I start my long drive to Austin, TX to see my cat Jessie. Then on Sunday I’ll be in San Antonio at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

Note: Elitch Gardens was kind enough to give us complimentary access to the park, The XLR8R, and The Slingshot today.