We all know that one ride that carries us down the midway after a long and tiring day. Or that ride that everyone goes on to get some really great shots of Raptor going through its teardrop loop, or the birds that nest on top of the Pagoda Gift Shop. We all know the buckets that gave over one million rides this past summer. But do we all know the origins of the SkyRide? A fan of MyOwnCP reached out to me after posting a picture of SkyRide from the Winter Chill Out, Rob. Rob is a historian and collector of VonRoll Skyrides who had ancestors working for the company back in Bern Switzerland in the 50’s and 60’s. Rob was gracious enough to allow me to ask a few questions about the history of the company, and also of the SkyRide itself.
The VonRoll company started way back in 1823 in Bern Switzerland building tramways starting in 1897. In 1908 the first aerial tramway was built in the Wetterhorn Mountains in Switzerland. The VonRoll company was also the first to develop the detachable grip in 1945. The company is still around and in operation today, but sticking to Funicular railways. In 1996 the aerial tramway division was taken over by an Austrian company called Dopplemyr who still maintains all existing VonRoll attractions.
The first VonRoll VR101 Skyride was built for the KABA EXPO in 1947, which was later bought by Disneyland called the Skyway. The Disneyland Skyway was then later removed due to stress cracks in the Matterhorn tower supports.
The oldest VonRoll in the world is located in the Czech Republic built in 1952 and still runs on its original equipment. The oldest operating VonRoll in the US is actually the one mentioned above. The Cedar Point Skyride was built in 1961 at the cost of 300,000 dollars. That seems like so little to put into a new ride of any sort, but back in 1961 300,000 dollars was equal to 2,346,130 dollars! But the Cedar Point SkyRide wasn’t the only VonRoll to be built at Cedar Point. The old Frontier Lift built back in 1968 was also from the VonRoll company. The Frontier Lift was removed in 1985. The original station for the ride however still stands at the park today. Located next to SkyHawk and Cedar Creek Mine Ride and was converted into guest restrooms. In 2014 a balcony was built into the front of the Frontier Lift station and was the home of the Call Of The Scare, the witch themed opening ceremony during the 18th Halloweekends.
To this day there are 15 total VonRoll VR101 Skyrides in the world, 11 of which are located in the US. The newest addition to that list is at Cedar Fair park Californias Great America in Santa Clara California.