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Valleyfair careens down memory lane with the Renegade

class=img_thumbleft>Wooden roller coasters aren't as fast as their famous steel counterparts, nor can they fling riders threw corkscrewy twists and upside-down turns. And yet more and more amusement parks are building them—and not just to cash in on Baby Boomer sentimentalism. "Woodies" are often just as scary as steel coasters, for the simple reason that flying on rails supported by what amounts to a giant pile of toothpicks is enough to make you fear for your life. City Pages recently caught up with Jan Guthridge of Valleyfair, which unveils its new wooden coaster, Renegade, today.

City Pages: There seems to be a new wooden roller coaster trend in amusement parks. Why is that?

Jan Guthridge: Wood coasters have unique characteristics over steel coasters. With steel coasters you have a much smoother ride, whereas on a wood coaster you feel more of the ride. The superstructure of a wood coaster makes it look very impressive. At the same time, it's nostalgic. The first roller coasters were made of wood.

CP: How does Renegade stack up against other famous wooden roller coasters, like the Cyclone or Texas Giant?

JG: It's yet to be determined since we haven't ridden it yet. We anticipate it'll be a very challenging ride with different sensations—speed, curves, and airtime. Renegade boasts a never-before-experienced twisting first drop. We actually have a coaster club coming in June all the way from Great Britain to ride it.

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CP: My girlfriend is scared of steel roller coasters. Will she be scared of Renegade, too?

JG: Probably.

Valley Fair opens its 2007 season this Saturday with the unveiling of Renegade. Admission to the park is $35.95 for adults; $11.95 for kids shorter than 48 inches. 10:00 a.m. 1 Valleyfair Dr., Shakopee; 800.386.7433.