In 1990, Iron Wolf, a stand-up coaster, opened at Six Flags Great America.  This was the first ride that roller coaster designers Bolliger & Mabillard built.  One year later, their second stand-up coaster, Vortex, opened at Paramount's Great America to positive reviews.

Compared with the newer stand-up models from B&M, Vortex is relatively small.  The ride stands 91-feet in the air and reaches a maximum speed of 45 MPH.  The layout spans only 1920-foot in length and features two inversions -- one vertical loop and one corkscrew.


Once you enter the station, you board the ride, pull down your restraints, and fasten your safety belt.  My recommendation is to ride with your knees slightly bent to avoid strain on your legs during the ride.

Once the train is dispatched, you head through a left-hand turnaround and onto the lift-hill.  From the apex of the lift, you head down a small dip, and then soar down the 92-foot drop, which twists to the left.

From the bottom of the drop, you immediately head into the ride's first inversion, a vertical loop, which offers very high positive Gs.  From here, you head through an elevated banked turnaround, which also provides plenty of forces.

Next up, you travel over a helix that passes through the ride's vertical loop.  This element leads into an s-turn which heads directly into the ride's final inversion, a corkscrew.  From this point, you head through one final turnaround, over a small hop, up onto the brakes, and back into the station.


Despite its size, Vortex is a fun and intense stand-up coaster with an interesting layout and plenty of positive Gs.  But over the years, the ride has been getting a lot bumpier, and the head banging is definitely noticeable.

A few other complaints I have are that the ride is very short, the station is not shaded, and the ride operators are usually slow.  But overall, Vortex is a fairly good stand-up coaster that most coaster fans will enjoy.

Rating: 6.5/10


  • Fun and Intense

  • Plenty of positive Gs


  • Short

  • Fairly rough

-Jeff B.