Only in Vegas: Paying to Cheat Death

Unless the building was on fire, it’s highly unlikely that you would ever willfully fling yourself off a skyscraper. That choice would be even more improbable if you were told you had to pay for the pleasure of such a ridiculous act. But none of that holds true in Las Vegas, where vacationers eagerly pay the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel and Tower a pretty penny to strap themselves in to some of the most outlandish rides ever created.

With only four rides to choose from, at first glance you might think that’s pretty weak by Vegas standards. But once you figure out how mind-blowing each of these over-the-top attractions is, you’ll quickly realize the error of your first impression. Here’s a breakdown of the ways you can seek some serious thrills at the top of Stratosphere:

    • Insanity the Ride totally lives up to its name. Strap yourself in and get ready to experience nausea like never before! This ride thrusts passengers 64 feet (19 meters) out from the Stratosphere Tower and spins them around vertically 900 feet (274 meters) off the ground. Riders can experience 3 G’s while being spun at a 70 degree angle facing straight down. That’s insane.
    • If you’ve ever wondered what’s going on at the top of the Stratosphere’s spire, the Big Shot is what you’re looking at. Reaching speeds of 45 miles (72 kilometers) per hour, this ride shoots passengers 160 feet (49 meters) in the air. After reaching a height of 1,081 feet (329 meters) while pulling up to 4 G’s, riders then fly back down the spire and pull negative G’s. The view has to be amazing from the top, but imagine how your stomach feels after that!
    • X-Scream might be the tamest ride at the Stratosphere, but that’s not saying much at all. Somewhat resembling a teeter-totter, passengers slide face first 27 feet (8 meters) off the edge of the building. Did I mention this happens all while you dangle 866 feet (264 meters) off the ground? Check it out for yourself in the image below:

The fourth attraction thrill-seekers flock to the Stratosphere for is called the SkyJump. The name itself sums up the whole experience, but in no way describes what it feels like to have the cojones to take this challenge on.

Of all the crazy ways you can tempt fate at the Stratosphere, only the craziest bravest thrill-seekers are able to even contemplate giving the SkyJump a go. How you could overcome the natural urge to run screaming in the opposite direction of this attraction is beyond me. But there’s always someone with more cash than brains ready to stare death in the face, and I happen to be married to one of those people.

On our most recent trip to Vegas, my husband crossed a goal off his bucket list by jumping off the 108th story of the Stratosphere. As the appointed documentarian, I was tasked with holding my hand steady to capture his 855 foot (260 meter) descent. Here’s what crazy brave looks like on film:

If you’re into math, that jump cost approximately $5.56 per second. He says it was 100% worth it and would do it again in a heartbeat. In all honesty, I kind of want to too. Eek!

On the other hand, after seeing what the ground looks like from that height I’d probably change my mind when the time came to step off the platform. Check out how tiny the cars are from that high up:

So what are your thoughts on the Stratosphere’s attractions? Does just thinking about them make you weak in the knees? Or have you already thrown caution to the wind and taken a ride on all of them? Write me a comment and let me know what you think!

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