7 Must-Try Roller Coasters

A daring new ride, X Flight, debuts at Six Flags Great America this month. Here are seven other tracks that all speed junkies should try at least once.

May 11, 2012

Bringing new meaning to the phrase "off the rails," Six Flags Great America's new roller coaster, X Flight, opens to the public on May 16 with one very unusual feature: There is no track above or below you. Thrill seekers sit in pairs, suspended on either side of the track with feet dangling, soaring at speeds of 55 mph through 3,000 feet of drops and various inversions, including a barrel roll and 360-degree twists. Intrigued, we asked Dave Altman, the president of American Coaster Enthusiasts, to compile the ultimate roller-coaster bucket list, which loops and rolls all the way from Sweden to Brooklyn. Don't forget to pack your Dramamine.

Here's the X Flight simulation video, which will either persuade you to visit Chicago or swear off thrill rides forever:

1. Leap-the-Dips: Lakemont Park, Altoona, Pennsylvania
Built in 1902, this is the oldest roller coaster in the world. The single-car "trains" resemble sleighs and attain a top speed of just 18 mph as they traverse the three levels of track featuring larger and larger dips. The coaster was closed in 1985 and survived only because the park did not have the funds to demolish it. Due to fund-raising efforts by the local Leap-the-Dips Preservation Foundation and American Coaster Enthusiasts, it was restored and reopened on Memorial Day in 1999. The coaster was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1996.

Slides 1-4 and 6-7 credit: Wikimedia Commons, Slide 5 credit: Flickr Commons
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