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School is out, and kids all over Billings are taking full advantage of the pools that opened this week.

At the Rose Park pool on Thursday, Conner Paul, 14, was taking full advantage of the newest addition, a speed slide.

"I think it's super fun," he said. 

The 31-foot slide has two loops and a steep drop before riders are slowed in a shallow trough of water that extends for about 20 feet at the end.

It joins two other slides that were opened last year, and has been a hit among the thrill-seeking youth set.

"The other ones are kind of slow; this has good speed to it," Conner said. "It puts a little tickle in your stomach." 

The speed slide encountered some setbacks last year as it was tested by pool employees.

"Some of our guards were coming down so fast, they would hit the end," said Michael Whitaker, director at Billings Park and Recreation.

The company that designed and installed the slide, Aqua Blue International, tested it with several body types after installing it, but it was not tested with all body types, Whitaker said.

They modified the original design and installed it this spring to make it safer for riders, he said. "They redid it on their dime."

Park employees believe the slide will draw a crowd of older riders to the pool, who may not have decided to come swimming.

"We believe that will draw a lot of teenagers into the facility," he said. "Our goal is to have truly a family facility."

On the other side of Billings, a 23.5-foot slide joined the skyline this spring at The Oasis Water Park, 543 Aronson Ave.

"We’ve got a new enclosed tube slide," said Oasis director Chuck Barthuly. 

The slide was purchased and built with community donations.

"We raised about $120,000 in funding in order to get it accomplished," Barthuly said.

The slide has some tube sections that are clear so other riders and parents can watch the rider plummet to a trough where they are slowed down, and the rider is transported through darkness and light.  

"It's got some translucent bands, so it gives kind of a strobe effect," he said. "It’s got some fun little features added to it that makes it kind of interesting."

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Chris Cioffi covers city news for The Billings Gazette in Montana.