Today, they are high-tech marvels rising more than one hundred feet in the air with tubular steel tracks, loops, corkscrews and boomerangs. Their riders are hurled through space at 60 miles per hour — while sitting, standing or suspended from an overhead track. Their roots are still with us today — majestic wooden labyrinths with steep rises and swooping plunges and superstructures that look like delicately balanced matchsticks. Steel and wooden roller coasters may look different, but there is much they have in common. All exist to exhilarate and terrify. The exhilaration began with Russian Mountains, in the 15th...
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