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
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.
Fun and Intense
Plenty of positive Gs