Schlitterbahn cancels media rides on Verrückt; Sunday opening is uncertain

06/25/2014 3:28 PM

06/26/2014 1:15 PM

About the opening of Verrückt, the new water slide at Schlitterbahn? Stay tuned.

A problem with the raft conveyor system has forced officials to cancel news media rides on Thursday and Friday, said Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio.

As of Wednesday afternoon, it was unclear whether the world-record-setting ride would open to the public on Sunday as had been announced, she said.

Equipment was flown in for the conveyor system, but the repair team will not be able to cycle through enough tests for the ride to be ready for media preview days Thursday and Friday, Prosapio said.

“This has put us behind, and we will not skip a single step to make sure this puppy is ready,” she said. “So watch for more information.”

Delays are not new for Verrückt, which its designer and Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry called a “game changer” for the water park industry. At 168 feet, 7 inches, Verrückt was certified in April as the tallest water slide in the world by Guinness World Records.

The ride — its German name means “insane” — was originally to be ready when the Kansas City, Kan., park opened for the season May 23.

But in mid-May, Schlitterbahn officials announced the ride’s debut would be delayed for more testing. The new target date for opening the ride was June 5.

At the end of May, a second delay was announced. Park officials said that the ride was “functional” but that “a few operational tweaks” were ongoing. The new start date was slated for June 29.

This week, media preview days were scheduled for Thursday and Friday, with Verrückt to open to the public on Sunday. But news came Wednesday that repairs to the conveyor system and subsequent testing required the park to nix the media rides.

“The crew is working toward Sunday, but we’ll know more tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon,” Prosapio said.

To reach Edward M. Eveld, call 816-234-4442 or send email to eeveld@kcstar.com.

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