There’s a buzz going around northern Idaho right now. If you live in the area, then you’ve probably seen the billboard below. It’s all about the new Stunt Pilot roller coaster that has just landed at Silverwood Theme Park in Athol. Inspired by the park’s early history of live stunt air shows, Stunt Pilot puts you in the captain’s seat to live out your daredevil fantasies and it is making its debut Memorial Day weekend.
The newest roller coaster to join the park in ten years, Stunt Pilot climbs at 105 feet and pluments almost to the ground with a near vertical drop. It’s a thrill ride that you won’t forget any time soon and boy is it smooth. Your first ride is scary. The second is just fun.
The ride begins back in the que line that takes you through a small gallery of sorts featuring images and footage from the former Silverwood stunt shows then out the door you go. Look above and you find a real stunt plane zooming right over your head.
From there, you’ll wind around under the ride giving you a full preview of the ride over and over again as you wait your turn. Take a good look and take it all in. You’ll hear recordings and sound effects to enhance the experience. Once inside the hanger, you’ll board the single rail coaster. While you’ll be tempted to wear your aviator glasses, you’ll want to leave them behind.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that unlike most roller coasters, Stunt Pilot never comes to a complete stop. Instead, it slowly crawls while loading and unloading passengers in the hanger promising to keep the line moving quickly even during the busiest days at the park. That’s the theory anyway.
While there is no danger of you sleeping while riding this beast, the cars on it are actually quite comfortable. Even the creeping crawl to the top is quite smooth. And then you’re off flying! You’ll go down a near-vertical dive before taking a few hairpin turns, three inversions, then go through three yellow ring obstacles before storming through a barn (smile pretty as this is where the attraction’s photo camera is set up.)
After de-boarding the plane, you’ll get the opportunity to shop for some Stunt Pilot-themed souvenirs including fuzzy teddy bears and retro-styled t-shirts. Go ahead and buy the aviator glasses. You’ve earned it.
While the ride is thrilling during the day, it offers a new experience at night where the yellow obstacles light up giving the ride a whole new dimension.
Silverwood is located at 27843 N. Hwy 95, Athol, ID 83801 and is open May through September. However, the park is not open every day, so be sure to view their schedule online before you plan your trip.
All photos taken by the author unless noted otherwise.
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.