107 Stories. Straight down.

Volume 7, Issue 208; 13 Dec 2004; last modified 08 Oct 2010

There's a roller coaster? Up there!?

Yes, there is a roller coaster up there, at the top of the Stratosphere. The roller coaster is about 109 stories up, I think. If you saw the end of last season's CSI, you saw Grissom riding it. And I wanted to ride it too.

Unfortunately, it was closed the day I went to the top of the Stratosphere. Too rainy. Too windy. I bought tickets to the other rides instead.

A short elevator ride later, they're strapping me into X-Scream. The very front of it. Alone. It's at this point that I realize I have no idea what the ride actually does. Or, more precisely, it's at this point that I become acutely aware that I have no idea. All I can see is a steel beam extending over the edge of the tower.

Let me tell you what it does. It does this:

X-Scream!
X-Scream!

The flash obliterates the background. It looks more like this:

X-Scream
X-Scream

The steel beam is the little tiny spike on the left side.

Stratosphere
Stratosphere

The ride consists of a gentle slide to the end of the beam, a gentle tilt so you can see all the way down, and a gentle slide back. Then they raise the beam to about 45° and drop your ass to the end of it. That's when they take the picture. In case your heart is still beating, they shake the car around a bit before pulling you back.

The other ride, Big Shot, is a freefall-style ride. You start on a platform 112 stories up. You go up another few stories at four gees. Back down again at zero.