Saturday, 23 June 2007

Day 11 - Power Park

Powerpark would mark the furthest north I'd ever been and a new park for me, as it wasn't on the tour the last time the club traveled Scandinavia.

Linnanmaki was built to serve the local children. Powerpark on the other hand was built to suit the whims of the owner, one of the wealthiest men in Finland, who just happened to want to build his own theme park, so that's what he did. Well if I had the money I'd do the same thing.

This is the park's restaurant. It looks like a strange attempt at a Disney park.

I'd ridden one of these spinning crazy houses before in Japan but this one wasn't working today.

Buried at the back of the woods is the kiddy coaster, which wasn't too bad.

This is a shot of the Gyro Swing, excellently themed and the first one I'd ridden to feature a roof. It makes the ride quite disorientating, you think you're going to crash through it even though you're not.

The main reason for coming to the park was the wooden coaster at the back, Thunderbird, but there are some other decent rides here including a Starflyer, which wasn't that scary (more on that next), the giant swing and a drop tower with a fear inducing lengthy pause at its top.

This is the Star Flyer and I'd ridden some of these before and never feel totally safe doing so. The whole time I'd riding this I'm thinking "if the chain snaps I want it happen here so that I land on that". When I rode the one at Prater I wanted to land on a trampoline enclosure beneath the ride, on this one I figured I'd be alright as long as I landed on the grass. As there was plenty about I felt OK here.

The steel coaster was OK even with a couple of whiplash inducing diving drops.

There's a running joke about Boomerang coasters that somewhere in the world there's one that doesn't smash your head in. This might be it! It had different cars to normal that made the ride surprisingly good, and no, that isn't an example car on display outside it.

As well as the theme park, Powerpark also serves as home to a great go-karting circuit designed by Mika Salo, actually it has a couple of tracks but only rode the outdoor one. The indoor one (the largest in the world) was being used by another group. I love go-karting and am still undefeated in our annual Irish championship, but this was a totally different experience. The track was longer, bends more banked, forces stronger and just a lot more fun. I won our race but only realised afterwards that we were being measured on fastest lap, and I was fourth. Andy Huckle won that one.....scumbag! The karting didn't appear to be everyones cup of tea though, some withdrew early, although still insisted it was excellent, which didn't make sense. Still it is something that I think should be considered for future trips, it shouldn't just be coaster coaster coaster coaster.

Thunderbird was the main draw to the park. A fairly new generation of wooden coaster that rides like its made of steel, its that smooth. Supposedly the northernmost coaster on the planet (might be a true claim if you discount Alpine Coasters as there are plenty of those) the ride was a lot of fun with plenty of out of the seat forces and a good mixture of twisty bits and straight bits (spoken like a true non-enthusiast).

At the end of the day we had a great ERS (time where the public are sent away and the ride is given to the club) and it's always a good sign when you see people running back for another go. I ducked out about a third of the way through to take pictures.

This hotel only has 20 rooms but still looks pretty good. Some of the rooms offer views of the park, others the go-karting track. Quite an exclusive hotel but not as exclusive as Shelfort with its 12 rooms :D

A HDR shot of Thunderbird. Yes I know there are no trains moving because this is actually three photos of varying exposures combined in one and a moving train wouldn't work.

Another HDR shot looking away from the ride. I can only assume this is theming as there's no runway for the plane to take off, although the fields would probably still work.

This is painted on the walk towards Thunderbird, most of us picked up on the N being painted incorrectly but it was only when I got this home that I realised the G was wrong too!

A rare shot of Justin on the ride enjoying himself. Usually he's where I am taking pictures of the rides or if riding pulling stupid faces when he see cameras pointed at him.

Liking the cross-armed brace technique!

This was the first shot of Mattius I took on the trip, I ended up taking many just because by sheer coincidence he'd be in the front row when I'd be taking pictures.

This is the rides first drop, not normally accessible to the public. We'd been given special dispensation to walk around the ride.

I liked Power Park but I could only ever come here with the club. It's just too far out of the way for someone who chooses not to drive.

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