Skip to Main Content

Valleyfair

Skip to Next Section

Winterizing Valleyfair

Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. Twitter: @kelseymegard.

As the temperature drops and snow starts to fall, many of us focus on the upcoming holiday season and winter activities. Not the Valleyfair Maintenance team. It is full speed ahead to get the park ready for 2018.

One of the first steps in the winter maintenance process is removing all the trains from their designated coaster track. The trains are moved to Valleyfair’s maintenance building where they are completely disassembled. Each train is completely stripped down, and every individual piece is cleaned, inspected, and then reassembled. 

“People would not recognize this as a coaster train once we take it completely apart,” Tom Suel, Director of Maintenance, said, “These trains are stripped down to nothing.”

Not only do the trains come off, but the brakes are also removed from the track and go through a similar process of disassembly, cleaning, inspection, and reassembly.

Steel Venom requires a healthy amount of maintenance in the offseason. Each train rests on the train in front of it, so when disassembled, all the trains have to come off in unison.  “It takes a lot of labor to rebuild those seven cars,” Suel said.

He also explains that wooden roller coasters require a higher level of maintenance. Beams and parts of the track have to be replaced every year along with tightening every nut and bolt on the coaster. “The track stack takes the hardest beating throughout the year and has to be replaced frequently,” Suel said, “Wooden coasters offer a great ride experience, so it’s worth the extra work.”

Some rides, such as North Star, are built with maintenance in mind. Suel explains that these rides are built with parts that are great for outdoor use. Stainless steel does not rust and can withstand the cold temperatures that hit Minnesota. “We still go through and do complete inspections on these rides, but they do not require a major tear down that some of our other rides do,” Suel said.

When asked which ride takes the most time to get ready for the next season, Ride Maintenance Manager, Jim Boone, quickly answered “Power Tower.”

"Power Tower is three rides combined into one, and with 36 seats it takes a lot of work to get ready for the next season," Boone said. A fair amount of the work is completed at the top of the ride structure. “This time of year it may be a comfortable temperature on the ground, but you go a few hundred feet in the air, that changes,” Suel said, “Our guys will stay up there all day doing maintenance because it’s not fun climbing up and down.”

Scrambler and Tilter are a few of Valleyfair’s rides that would seem like smaller maintenance projects but require a decent amount of work. All of the cars have to be removed, disassembled, and inspected similarly to coaster trains.

Most of the smaller rides in Planet Snoopy are serviced during the weekdays of ValleySCARE. They are inspected and repaired before getting covered in shrink wrap and sealed from winter. “They are such small ride units that you can clean them and reassemble them right there on sight,” Suel said, “It allows us during the weekdays that we are closed to get those smaller projects completed.”

While we wait for Opening Day of 2018, Valleyfair’s Maintenance team will continue at full speed to make sure guests enjoy a safe and fun season.

Share This

Kelsey Bailey

Kelsey joined the Valleyfair team in 2017 as PR and Communications Manager. She enjoys eating endless funnel cakes, riding Renegade multiple times a day, and telling all the wonderful stories about the inner workings of Valleyfair. Twitter: @kelseymegard.

Post a Comment

Skip to Next Section

Fun Color by Number Sheets for Home Artists

Spring has certainly sprung—and honestly, it doesn’t feel like summer’s that far off—and that means the Minneapolis and Saint Paul area is craving a trip to Valleyfair. Although we can’t be together in the park right now, we’re sharing as many ways as possible to take a mental vacation to Valleyfair. Who couldn’t use a little escape right now?
Read More

Working from Home: Valleyfair Edition

We asked our team to tell us about their working from home experiences.
Read More

El Taco Mercado Pollo Taco Recipe

Last year, El Taco Mercado debuted a new menu featuring a variety of delicious street tacos. Today we are bringing one of those recipes into your house, so grab your apron and mixing bowl because it's time to make some pollo tacos.
Read More

Celebrate Mom the Valleyfair Way

It's been interesting to see all of the ideas surrounding pandemic birthday vehicle parades, and virtual happy hours… But we can't forget about Mom! So, here are some "quaran-mom-time" ideas to get Mother's Day 2020 going in the right direction.
Read More

Virtual Rides at Valleyfair

We have rounded up all our POV videos and put them in one place for your viewing pleasure. So strap in and hold on tight for a virtual ride from the comfort of your own home.
Read More

Valleyfair's NEW Spam on a Stick Recipe

In 2020, we are adding a new item to our on-a-stick line up, a Minnesota delicacy - spam.
Read More

Valleyfair's NEW Vegan Juicy Lucy Recipe

Valleyfair is known for its delicious cheeseburgers, tasty chicken tenders, and savory funnel cakes, but this year our Foods Team is adding a new menu item, a Vegan Juicy Lucy.
Read More

Construction Updates from Valleyfair

While most of the Valleyfair team is working from home, a few of our associates are still preparing the park for operation while following local and national health directives. It is your lucky day because we are going to take you behind the scenes to show you some of the construction projects that have been happening over the offseason. So strap in and enjoy this sneak peek. 
Read More

Valleyfair's Bingo Game

Are you searching for a challenge to do with your friends and family? Well, we have the perfect game for you. Bingo - Valleyfair style!
Read More

Valleyfair Digital Puzzles

We are all looking for activities to keep our brains stimulated while making the most of our time at home. The Valleyfair team has put together some awesome digital puzzles that you can complete from your computer or phone!
Read More