MONTREAL – If reality wasn’t terrifying enough, La Ronde unveiled its newest ride Wednesday – a virtual reality roller coaster.
It turns The Goliath, previously the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada until it was surpassed by Behemoth at Canada’s Wonderland, into a scene from a science-fiction movie.
Riders wear virtual reality (VR) goggles that show fighter pilots taking on an alien warship.
“There’s aliens attacking. If you have a look around, you have a complete environment in which you’re submerged,” said La Ronde spokesperson Jules Hebert on the first day of testing.
So, how crazy is the ride?
I was one of the first to try the new ride and it’s definitely a unique experience.
Usually, the climb to the initial dive is the most stressful part of a roller coaster – but in this case it feels like a breeze because it’s like you’re watching a movie.
The scariest part is anticipating what’s going to happen next because you can’t actually see what’s in front of you.
It’s an interesting experience that builds on something that is already fear-inducing – speed and heights – but using VR makes it a more of a sensory experience.
After three rides, I couldn’t stomach any more (no, I didn’t throw up).
What do you see?
Every dip and dive the ride makes is mirrored by what’s on the screen.
The goal is to combine physical thrill with a great imagination.
“The physical experience matches what you’re seeing,” said Philippe Lozier, with Samsung Canada, who provided the phones and headsets that every rider wears before getting on.
“When it comes together, it’s an outstanding experience.”
It’s the first virtual reality roller coaster in Canada.
Yet, it does beg the question: is it scarier to see the drop, or not know what’s coming?
With a 52 metre dive and speeds of up to 110 km/h, it’s up to you to decide whether or not being able to see is a comfort or a challenge.
“This will suit many people who are kind of anxious, who are scared of coasters,” said Hebert.
“The fact that you’re submerged in another reality takes you to a different level and we hope it’ll bring a lot of people to the Goliath this year.”