CLEVELAND - The fun stops when the flakes start to fly, but the work doesn’t. The team at “America’s Roller Coast” keeps busy even during the winter.
"Frontier Town” at Cedar Point looks more like a Ghost Town this time of year. The giant Ferris wheel is bare. And so are all the coasters at the Sandusky amusement park.
"A lot of people don’t realize what we do all winter long. We’ll go through every car of every ride," said Ride Maintenance Supervisor, Greg Spears.
During the six months Cedar Point is closed, hundreds of cars will come to an offsite building, where 42 mechanics will strip them down.
Spears says they stay busy the entire time.
“We’re really limited on our overhaul time, and we have a lot of work to get done during that time,” said Spears.
Some of that work includes replacing bearings, wheels, seats and lap-bar parts.
“It pretty much is a new ride. It’s ready to go," said Spears, when asked what happens when they are done.
It may be months of hard work, but for these guys it's well worth it.
"I love watching people get off a ride, laughing and smiling and having a good time. I know I’m a part of that.”
In the off season at Cedar Point there’s a lot of disassembling, but this year, crews are also assembling the park’s newest ride. It's called The Gatekeeper and the 170-foot tall ride will be one of only a few “winged coasters” in the world.
"[This means] you’re next to the track – two people on each side of the track," explained Edmond Dangler, Director of Maintenance and Construction.
Cedar Point’s Gatekeeper will be the biggest, fastest, longest winged coaster ever built. Dangler says it will include speeds in the 60 mph range, several inversions and some zero gravity hills so you get that nice uplift feeling coaster enthusiasts love.
Right now, the $30 million project is right on track, but those working on the coaster know this is winter in Northern Ohio and the weather can be unpredictable.
“We hope for good weather. Snow we can deal with, but high winds and storms will shut us down,” said Dangler.
Work is scheduled to be complete by April when engineers will do the test runs on what’s sure to be a popular ride when the park re-opens in May.
“It’s the Cedar Point motto. We want the next biggest, highest, fastest thing and that’s what we’re having here,” Dangler said.