Why is there so much hype surrounding industry leading roller coaster manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction (aka. RMC)?
It’s no secret that when it comes to the modern theme park and attractions industry there is one roller coaster manufacturer who currently stands out above all others in speculation surrounding new major roller coasters coming to theme parks worldwide and what they may be, and that name is Rocky Mountain Construction (aka. RMC).
Rocky Mountain Construction is a US based roller coaster manufacturer founded by creative genius Alan Schilke who are known mainly for their outlandish and unique approach when it comes to creating some of the most notable thrilling and diverse roller coaster layouts within the industry to date, however why is there so much hype surrounding their name and why is every roller coaster enthusiast out there so desperate to experience one of these incredible roller coasters for themselves?
It’s fair to say that when looking at one of the manufacturer’s signature IBOX Hybrid roller coasters (Ibox referring to the design of the steel track used to create the ride) it definitely sports the outward appearence of any other ride quite like it within the industry to date.
The most distinguishing features definitely have to be the twisted and sweeping steel tracked inversions which as a rule sit atop wooden supports giving the illusion of an inverting wooden roller coaster (when of course we as enthusiasts know this not to be the case).
To the general public however this will be exactly how the ride is perceived and for this reason RMCs definitely come across as something very novel and different, especially considering how normal wooden coasters usually appear to the untrained eye.
It’s no secret that the general consensus amongst the general public nowadays is that wooden coasters are not only dull and lacking in thrills, however they are also outdated and in desperate need of being replaced.
This is where in a lot of cases (particularly within the US.) Rocky Mountain Construction are brought into the picture as not only do they build new additions from the ground up, however they are also able to convert former wooden coasters into something much more thrilling, modern and smoother overall.
This is shown particularly well by the most recent conversion of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s former wooden duelling roller coaster Gwazi into the now wood and steel goliath that is Iron Gwazi – a 206ft tall beast of a hybrid which now boasts the only beyond vertical drop to be featured on any wood and steel hybrid to date.
Other conversions include Walibi Holland’s newest addition Untamed which the manufacturer was able to create by converting the park’s old wooden roller coaster Robin Hood and most famously the gigantic masterpiece of airtime and speed – Steel Vengeance located at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio which saw a conversion take place from the park’s old wooden coaster Mean Streak into the beast of a ride we see today!
What does the ride experience offer?
Where as a lot of those who have ridden a tradition wooden coaster complain of a rough and rickety ride experience overall, due to the steel track used within the IBOX design the ride experience given by riding an RMC is much smoother and more fluid overall given for the closest possible experience to a standard steel coaster whilst maintaining an illusion of a traditional wooden coaster (which of course is not the case.)
RMC are not just known for creating brand new rides using their steel track however, in fact the company were recent consulted and brought onsite within the UK to wales based theme park Oakwood to carry out repair work on the park’s most iconic addition to their roller coaster line up Megafobia.
The reason for this is due to the fact that as where RMC create and install steel track they also still create and install wooden track as well.
although the manufacturer are mainly known for the wooden track they installed when building Lightening Rod at Dollywood within the US (which we believe is now receiving an IBOX overhaul due to consistent unreliability within recent years) The manufacturer has also carried out similar installations and repairs on other wooden coasters across the world too.
Regardless of this however whether the track used is indeed traditional wooden track or the manufacturer’s signature patented steel IBOX track the ride experience created by RMC remains the same, smooth, unique and thrilling overall.
What are the other unique selling points of an RMC Hybrid?
As mentioned previously when it comes to an overall layout and design of an RMC coaster the elements incorporated within the ride and the way the layout is constructed overall is anything but traditional.
Featuring ride elements such as the Zero-G Stall, the over banked curve (often referred to by enthusiasts as a wave turn) and the possibly the most famous element, the double inverting stall roller coasters created by Rocky Mountain Construction truly are one of a kind as most of the above are elements unique (up until recently) to the manufacturer’s rides themselves.
What is true is that alot of inspiration seems to have been drawn from RMC when it comes to the way other manufacturers such as Intamin and Vekoma have created recent additions to their ride back catalogues such as Pantheon opening at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2021 and Abyssus opening at EnergyLandia in Poland in 2021 too.
In recent times due to the strong competition present by this manufacturer others within the industry definitely seemed to have stepped up their game when it comes to creating their newest and most unique additions to date.
Who will be RMC's biggest competition in the years to come?
The one main thing to have happened from the amount of success gained by RMC is the fact that other wooden roller coaster manufacturers such as Great Coasters International (GCI for short) and Gravity Group LLC. have realised that in order to stay successful and with the times in the years to come they would have to up their game and offer new experiences which can be applied or installed within their future products.
This was most notably portrayed by the premiering of brand new steel track by GCI at the IAAPA Expo at the end of 2019!
By introducing this new type of track it will mean that the likes of GCI will be able to directly contend with RMC when it comes to offering the Steel and Wooden hybrid product, however to date this brand new track has only been installed on one roller coaster worldwide and that’s White Lightening at Fun Spot America!
Although both GCI and Gravity Group LLC. have yet to build any ground up hybrids, its fair to say that with the success of the RMC IBOX Hybrid the demand for such coasters to be built is definitely there.
Inline with the reveal of the new track both GCI and Gravity Group LLC. have also unveiled ride train designs with lapbar and shin restraints which will be also allow for inversions within any coaster layout, and for this reason these are definitely two manufacturers to watch as we move ever forward within the changing and evolving industry we now face.
What else do RMC offer?
Along with their iconic IBOX Hybrid coaster two other roller coaster types are currently on offer by RMC and these are the only single rail coaster to current grace the industry market – the Raptor and the yet to see installation big boy version of this ride – the T-REX which has been hailed as being able to achieve heights of up to and including 500ft whilst still maintaining the average train capacity of the manufacturer’s current hybrid models.
The Raptor has already seen installation across parks within the world (mainly in the US) in the form of the Wonder Woman’s Golden Lasso coaster based at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and the one of the most anticipated US additions of 2021 – The Jersey Devil which will be located at Six Flags New England!
All Raptor coasters are however single rowed when it comes to the coaster trains themselves however due to the compact and thrilling layouts this type of coaster can achieve the ride capacity is usually overlooked in favour of how different the ride designs really are.
Jersey Devil is said to be RMC’s most ambitious version of the Raptor model yet featuring an almost out and back style layout which will also incorporate some of the manufacturer’s most well known elements commonly used on their bigger coasters such as the Zero-G Stall and the out banked curve.
It’s fair to say that alot the US enthusiast community are definitely excited when it comes to this ride opening in 2021!
Would RMC be popular with the British general public?
One thing remains true when it comes to roller coasters, and regardless of their type, layout of seating position they all strive t achieve the same goal – to provide the most thrilling and enjoyable experience possible as safely as possible.
Now, in the eyes of the general pubic it’s fair to say that similar to the likes of Icon at Blackpool Pleasure Beach or Nemesis at Alton Towers an RMC coaster is just another different style of coaster experience to be had.
For this reason alone as long as the ride is thrilling enough and delivers an intense experience not found anywhere else any type of roller coaster will do, however the one thing that RMC does have going for them is the fact that to the untrained eye an RMC coaster is definitely a different looking and very novel style of experience.
It’s definitely fair to say that whether you are an enthusiast or just a paying customer we are always on the look out for new and more exciting experiences, and for that reason alone we believe that were an RMC to be installed anywhere here in the UK, people would very likely flock to say they have experienced the newest addition to the roller coaster industry here in the UK as opposed to being the one to say they have experienced the UK’s first ever RMC (which let’s face it would be the goal of every british enthusiast country wide haha!).
Another contributing factor to any success of a new ride is great marketing. If marketed correctly an RMC would truly prove something very special here in the UK, however it would definitely have to be done correctly and as clearly as possible when it comes to conveying the highlights of the newest ride experience on offer.
For this reason alone we do believe that should an RMC open here in the UK in the next five to ten years it would most certainly prove popular whether you are just a common Joe, or whether you are a die hard roller coaster enthusiast such as ourselves.
Overall, is this type of roller coaster worth all the hype?
Whilst it’s true that we have yet to experience an RMC coaster here at Theme Park Insanity what is true is that we can definitely appreciate the reasons behind this type of ride being as popular within the community as much as it is today.
an RMC coaster definitely offers an innovative and original ride experience and when comparing the manufacturers coasters with those on offer by other manufacturers such as Vekoma and B&M it’s clear that all others have yet to offer a ride experience similar to that of Steel Vengeance or Zadra when it comes to the elements included within those two rides alone.
We do however believe that there is every chance that this obsession with RMC could well eventually turn out to be just another phase such as the introduction of VR on rides or the Vertical Drop, and as other manufacturers such as Intamin start to climb in popularity RMC could well start to fade into the background as just another roller coaster manufacturer and not the industry giants they are today,
We do however believe that this could all change should Rocky Mountain Construction premier one of their innovative T-Rex coasters within the not too distant future as the type of ride experience this monster would give would be unrivalled in the sheer intensity and the amount of freedom riders will be able to experience whilst riding one of these rides.
With just a lap bar, shin guard and seat belt to keep riders secured in their seats (the same as most other IBOX coasters currently available to ride today) it’s definitely fair to say that riders truly would feel completely exposed when it comes to realising just how high up these coasters can go.
for this reason we do believe that although there are those who say RMC have peaked, we believe they still have alot left to give yet before they run out of original and daring ideas.
For this reason we still feel that RMC deserve every inch of hype they receive and as we continue to move ever forwards within a growing and evolving industry we do believe that in the years to come not only will the UK definitely receive an RMC, however as a manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction will remain just as sought after as the likes of B&M and Intamin when it comes to brand new investments worldwide!