Coasting Through Life

American Coaster Enthusiasts Are On A Roll

The Berg family of Chardon, Ohio, has its own definition of quality time. Part of a group called the American Coaster Enthusiasts, the Bergs travel the country, from coast to coast, feeding the thrill that's central to their lives.

And as 48 Hours Correspondent Richard Schlesinger reports, they are searching for the fastest, steepest and scariest roller coasters they can find.



"I expect my stomach to come up through my throat and come back down," says one enthusiastic teen. "Yes, I know I'm crazy. I like that barfing feeling. But I never do barf, so that's the best part."

The American Coaster Enthusiasts opened its summer season at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind., where every day seems like Christmas.

And Holiday World has a present for the Bergs and their group of 300: It's a brand-new roller coaster called The Raven, the brainchild of Holiday World general manager Will Cook. The Raven cost about $2 million to build.

"Our goal was to build a great family ride," Cook says. "A great family ride is scary and thrilling - all those things."

If you have a family like the Bergs, the dollars certainly add up.

"You can rack up $1,000, $1,200 in one tripÂ…and we're going, you know, 10 or 11 places this summer," says Mr. Berg. "It's the thrill of knowing that you're simulating, like, a free fall and can't get hurt. That's the thrill."

Lucy White from Jacksonville, Fla., won't say how old she is. But the woman who jokingly says she's "39 and holding" has never met a roller coaster she didn't like.

"We just go, like, negative Gs," she says. "We holler and scream and all that kind of stuff. Oh, boy, that has good air time."

White explains that everyone talks about air time.

As Pam Berg explains that air time is "when you lose your seat, when you actually come up out of your seat."

It's an acquired taste that can become an insatiable hunger.

"I love to ride," White exclaims. "And I want to go bungee jumping, too!"