Liseberg's Balder Voted #1 in 2005 Poll
Note: Scroll to the bottom for links to the results for all 175 wooden roller coasters worldwide.
Sweden's only wooden roller coaster has once again been voted the best in the world.
Liseberg's Balder won all mutual rider comparisons with other wood coasters en route to
claiming the number one spot for the second time in just its third year in the poll.
Dollywood's Thunderhead finished its sophomore season strong, edging Lake Compounce's
Boulder Dash for second in this year's poll. Silverwood's Tremors is in the top four
for the sixth time in seven years. Nara Dreamland's Aska, which quadrupled its
ridership among poll participants this year with 39 riders, cemented its status as a world class
ride by narrowly topping Knoebel's Phoenix for fifth.
2005's lone new wooden roller coaster proved to be a great one, as Mount Olympus's
Hades debuted at number seven. One might assume based on late summer reports that Hades
may have finished even higher had the bulk of its riders ridden it later in the year.
Visionland's Rampage placed eighth, it has been in the top 11 since it was built in 1998.
Timber Falls' Avalanche finished only two spots behind its cross-town rival in ninth,
proving that less wood doesn't always mean less good. Shivering Timbers, which fell outside of
the top three for the first time in its eight years of existence, rounds out this year's top ten.
Holiday World's Raven finished 11th in its 11th year in the poll, outside the top ten for the first
time and by the narrowest of margins.
Cypress Gardens' Triple Hurricane technically opened in late 2004, but made its first appearance
in the poll this year at #126.
Oldies, But Goodies: Among the great coasters in this year's top 25 are five that have been thrilling
riders since long before the Beatles came ashore, including one that has been doing so since two weeks
after Lindbergh's tickertape parade: Phoenix (1947) , Coaster (1958) , Comet (1947), Grand National (1935),
Cyclone (1927). FACTOID: Construction dates of the top 25: (1927-1958)=5, (1959-1994)=0, (1995-2005)=20
Within the top 25, the mutual rider tiebreaker was used extensively to separate coasters that had
the same number of blemishes (losses + (ties/2)) on their record....note that there are several pairs
of coasters for which the coaster with the marginally better winning percentage (due to more valid
comparisons against much lower rated coasters) is the lower ranked one of the pair.
Silverwood is the park with the top wooden coaster duo (#4 Tremors, #16 Timber Terror),
although Wisconsin Dells is now the only town with two wooden coasters in the worldwide top 10.
Time will tell, but Holiday World and Santa Claus, Indiana may contend for both honors in 2006 with
the debut of their third wooden roller coaster.
At the other end of the poll, California's Grizzly made it 11 straight years in dead last.
The following chart shows the mutual rider comparisons for the top 13 coasters (including
"Favorite Steel"). Preferences are listed for the people who rode each pair of coasters. The chart should
be read from left to right along the line for each of the top coasters listed at the left. For instance, it can
be seen that Balder won the comparison with Thunderhead with 10 mutual riders preferring Balder,
4 mutual riders preferring Thunderhead and 0 mutual riders rated them as equal.
Among the wooden roller coasters that are endangered are two that are at risk due to very recent events:
Mega Zeph, which opened in 2000 and was a top twenty ride for its first three years, is among the countless
thousands of New Orleans structures that face an uncertain future after the recent disaster.
Texas Cyclone, which opened to rave reviews in 1976 and was considered a world class ride for nearly a decade
until the ride was altered, is in need of a new home quickly after Astroworld closed for good this fall. TC has
been climbing in the poll in recent years, especially when only current year rides are considered (#43 in 2004
and 2005), after the trains were improved. Let's hope that a smart park owner decides to buy and relocate this
thrilling ride with a lot of history.
The "Favorite Steel" coaster would have placed second this year if it were included
in the final results, losing only one mutual rider comparison (to Aska) and tying one other (with Thunderhead).
Steel coaster fans: Remember to cast your ballot by December 21st, 2005 in
the Internet Steel Roller Coaster Poll. Ballots are at BestRollerCoasterPoll.com