SkiStar Hammarbybacken

26th July 2022

Hammarbybacken is a mostly artificial hill in southern Stockholm that has been built up using waste and excavation soil collected from nearby construction projects. This has allowed it to grow considerably over the years: the current height of 93.5 metres is almost twice what it was when the first ski jump on the site opened in 1919. Until recently the main draw for visitors was the five ski runs – two green, one blue, one red, and one black – though the operators have recently added a number of year-round activities to the mix, including a ropes course, a zip line, and a Sunkid GmbH Mountain Coaster that opened to the public on midsummer eve.


The imaginatively-named Mountain Coaster has a steep layout that is more than a little reminiscent of classic Brandauer designs, albeit with an intensity level at least a few notches down from that manufacturer’s more extreme creations. I found that the corners were wide enough to enable a full speed descent without ridiculous laterals, which is going to be an upgrade for the vast majority of visitors. I enjoyed three consecutive rides with no braking and would have happily done a few more if the price had been a little lower.

As of this writing tickets can only be purchased online. A single QR code covers one (€9), three (€18), or five (€32) descents, and while the web page suggests that they are tied to individuals we found that wasn’t the case in practice; we certainly had no problems sharing codes between us.



26th July 2022

When I first visited Kolmården back in 2011 it was a large zoo with three family-friendly amusement rides located around a kilometre and a half from the main entrance. A few years later the same basic demographic was targeted with a second group of attractions on the opposite side of the park. Then, out of nowhere, the owners decided to build the tallest and fastest wood coaster in Europe – putting the place firmly on the map for coaster enthusiasts and thrill seekers from around the world.

The decision to visit today was a late one, brought on by the offer of free transport (thank you Mats!) and the realisation that we’d managed to visit all of the tourist attractions that we wanted to in the greater Stockholm area. As with our trip to Gröna Lund a few days earlier we were able to enter the park for free using our European Coaster Club cards, saving 549kr (~€53) apiece. We made a point of spending most of this money within the park, split between food and an entirely unsuccessful attempt to win an oversized chocolate bar at one of the sideshows. (It’s a shame that chocolatiers don’t routinely offer monster bars outside of amusement parks; we’d happily have paid cash for one given the opportunity, as it would have been perfect for a friend’s birthday present.)


Our visit began with extended exploration of the park’s animal exhibits, culminating in a mysterious and entirely unexpected arrival at the entrance of Wildfire. Six years after its debut the Rocky Mountain design has held up remarkably well, and if anything has improved over its first year; the ride experience today was as close to coaster nirvana as anything I’ve ridden in recent years. The extended hang time in the first inversion was a definite highlight. The one weak spot (yes, I’m going to be that person) remains the final hill prior to the brake run, where the train slows right down to cross another section of track. A tunnel underneath would have had far less impact to pacing while also upping the thrill factor, though sadly it wasn’t be; maybe the terrain was unsuitable? We completed three laps – back, front, and middle – with an average wait time of fifteen minutes.

The only other attraction on our must-do list today was Safaribanen, a twenty-nine minute long cable car journey routing past all manner of different animal species. The 2638m long ride is the only example of its type in the world, which feels like a miss given how much more pleasant it is than the drive-through equivalents that I’ve visited over the years. The soundtrack was available in English, Swedish, or Finnish – though it added little as the views spoke for themselves. It is telling that the wait for this ride was longer than Wildfire, though the impatient could skip the queue by buying an online ticket for 199kr (~€19.17.)

We also enjoyed a lap on Godiståget, where the operators were telling children to put their hands in the air to make the train go faster. While this wasn't even close to being true, I found myself wondering how much engineering effort would be required to achieve a speed boost in practice. Perhaps a system measuring hand positions could be configured to add a few miles per hour to the lift hill motors? (On a related note, it's a shame that nobody has managed to come up with an improved version of the "scream-powered coaster" at Suzuka Circuit; if implemented properly this could be fantastic.).