From the time I first watched a video of Shivering Timbers (what a great name!), I was captivated. I liked the way it looked and had never seen a coaster with so many consecutive drops. It was on my must-ride list and I finally got the opportunity to ride it – six times, an indication of how good the rides were. OK, so a 107-foot first drop is not very impressive in an era of wooden behemoths and steel hypercoasters, but it’s nonetheless a darned good drop. And because it’s immediately followed by five more drops, this coaster provides a relentless, exciting ride. The ejector airtime is phenomenal; in order to ride hands in the air, I had to brace myself with my feet to keep from sliding forward under the lap bar. (I rode in the front, middle and back and found the G-forces to be best in the back although the back is a rougher ride.)
Featuring an out and back layout, Shivering Timbers begins with a left turn from the loading station and climb up the 122-foot chain lift hill. Once at the top it plummets 107 feet, traversing a succession of hills and drops, the last of which is a short one leading into the turnaround. Reaching a maximum speed of 57 mph, it maintains the pace and never lets up.
In addition to the numerous hills, there are jarring twists and turns. At one point there’s an unexpected bend in the track - known in roller coaster parlance as a "trick track" - which adds to the ride experience. The track veers sharply right and then left while ascending a bunny hill. The double helix at the end of the ride makes for a great finish. I thought that the twisted finale on this coaster was better than that on El Toro. An employee of Michigan’s Adventure told me that the bolts on the first hill were replaced during the off-season and we got to talking about how most parks were no longer building wooden coasters because they’re expensive to maintain. And that is unfortunate, as there’s nothing quite like a really good wooden coaster. (The trend appears to have shifted since I wrote this review, with the advent of Outlaw Run and the announcement of Goliath at Six Flags Great America.) Shivering Timbers, consistently ranked among the top ten, is a shining example of a good wooden coaster. 5 out of 5 stars. For more information about rides at Michigan’s Adventure, visit www.miadventure.com/