By Doug Ireland
---- — SALEM — It twists, it twirls and is enough to make you sick to your stomach.
But if thrill seekers and officials at Canobie Lake Park have their way, The Equinox will soon become the park’s newest attraction.
Riders will have to hold their hats — and their stomachs — as three large mechanical arms lift them 75 feet up into the sky, spinning and swinging as they go.
“It will be like you are completely gyroscoping in the air,” park spokesman Chris Nicoli said. “When you get off this thing, it’s going to take a while to recover.”
Nicoli said they hope to open the ride next month before the park closes for the season Oct. 28. But first, Canobie needs site plan approval from the town Planning Board.
The board will review the request at its meeting Thursday, according to town planning director Ross Moldoff. He doesn’t anticipate any major obstacles to receiving approval.
“It seems like it will be a big enhancement, especially if you are not one who gets queasy easy,” Moldoff joked.
If approved, The Equinox would replace the Matterhorn, a longtime favorite at the park that was retired from use in 2008, Nicoli said. A hot dog stand now occupies that spot, he said.
The Equinox would become the newest ride at the park since the arrival of the popular roller coaster, Untamed, two years ago, Nicoli said. Canobie receives about one new attraction a year, he said.
There are 52 rides at the 110-year-old amusement park.
While Untamed is one of Canobie’s most popular rides, the 76-year-old Yankee Cannonball roller coaster is still the favorite, Nicoli said.
When a Hollywood crew descended on the park last month to film “Labor Day,” starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, Brolin and others couldn’t resist taking Untamed for a ride.
But the thrill experienced on Untamed is completely different than riding on The Equinox, Nicoli said. He compares The Equinox to the park’s Xtreme Frisbee ride, another spinning attraction.
The Equinox, which is portable, is now in London and should be shipped to Canobie in a couple of weeks, Nicoli said. Like Untamed and other new rides at the park, the latest attraction isn’t expect to have a negative impact on the neighborhood in terms of increased traffic or noise, he said.
Nicoli would not divulge the price, but said when Canobie learned the ride was available, park officials didn’t hesitate.
“When we saw that, we thought, ‘We have to get that,’” Nicoli said. “We’re really excited.”
Nicoli said Canobie tries to constantly upgrade the park.
“We want to continue going strong for another 100 years,” he said.
Moldoff said Canobie has been a good neighbor over the years, helping to boost the local economy. No ride has ever failed to receive Planning Board approval, he said.
“It has been a cooperative relationship,” he said. “They have been very sensitive to the concerns of the abutting residents.”