Fårup Sommerland

20th July 2020

In ordinary times a coaster trip around Denmark would involve four or five hotel changes in order to minimise the amount of time driving. This year due to the ongoing pandemic I thought it would be more sensible to base out of a single location, which was why my Monday morning began with a three hour schlep north to Fårup Sommerland. Fortunately I was able to leave my rental on cruise control for the lion's share of the journey, and an audiobook made the time pass quickly.

The park has an unusual approach to ticketing, in that admission is sold at the vehicle entrance. This obviates the need for a barrier between the car park and the rest of the facility, which in turn allows visitors to go back and forth as they need to. Guests are actively encouraged to bring picnic supplies into the park, and there are even self-service grill areas for those who want to cook their own meals. (It occurred to me later that anyone trying this ticketing technique in a less civilised part of the world would probably need to check that children hadn't been stowed temporarily in car boots/trunks in order to save on admission fees.)

Farup

The big new attraction for this season is Saven (#2870), a new style of Family Boomerang from Vekoma with a track length of 235 metres. This is roughly fifteen percent more than the previous model, though the difference feels more substantial than that courtesy of a long and thin layout. The start and end points are almost one hundred and fifty metres apart as the crow flies, giving the ride a much bigger physical footprint than is usual for the type. (For purposes of comparison, the standard adult Boomerang is around half that length in the longer dimension.)

The layout appears to have been designed around the park's terrain. It consists of a gentle right turn, an airtime hill over a lake, a drop into a mist-filled tunnel under a bridge, and a reverse spike with an airtime bump at the midpoint inside a hollowed-out water tower. This apparent afterthought is the highlight of the experience for front seat riders, as it delivers a pleasing pop of floating air on the reverse journey. The back seat is perfectly respectable but flaccid in comparison; readers are advised to go towards the front of the train if at all possible.

My second hit was Orkanen (#2871), a Vekoma Suspended Family Coaster installed seven years ago over the lake that was once home to the late (and much lamented) Wetracer power boats. The ride was the first version of the 453 metre layout that has since been duplicated around the world, yet despite its many clones I'd argue it to be the best of the type thanks to its location almost entirely above water. Both of my laps were in the back row, as the wait for the front was a great deal longer. The tracking today was flawless, and the forces plentiful: a truly excellent ride.

The COVID-19 policies in effect at the park today were a great deal less guest-hostile than those enforced at Djurs Sommerland. Disposable surgical masks were mandatory on all the big coasters, and facilities were provided for their disposal at all the exit points in compliance with local regulation. However, there was no shakedown at the entrance to ride queues, and those who wanted to keep their existing masks were allowed to do so without being challenged. My N95 mask that was declared unsuitable for coasters yesterday presented no issues today; I kept it on throughout my visit, only removing it briefly to eat lunch. (I didn't see masks being sold, though I presume that they must have been available somewhere.)

Sixteen years ago (wow, I’m getting old) I was part of a group from the European Coaster Club that attended the opening of Falken in the presence of a number of dignitaries, not least Denise Dinn from S&S. At the time the tracking on the ride was almost perfect, with only one awkward moment where construction crews hadn’t quite managed to get two segments of track to line up. I managed thirty-six laps that day, but I’m sorry to report that nobody in their right mind would do that as of 2020; though the first drop and airtime hill were fine (perhaps retracked recently?) the rest of the layout was pretty grim, particularly as the train jackhammered its way around corners. I didn't enjoy the experience at all.

Lynet

The only major coaster left at this point had the longest wait of the day, clocking in at forty minutes. Lynet was the first so-called Launch Coaster from Gerstlauer, and it remains one of just two in existence (the other being Anubis) after the manufacturer migrated to the superior Infinity Coaster family. It has aged very well; the launch was powerful, the tracking was effortless, and the inversions were handled without significant head banging. The experience would have been a little better with lap bar restraints, but was still perfectly respectable without them.