Friday, May 4, 2001 | 11:14 a.m.
The Stratosphere hotel-casino, already home to what many consider to be the most terrifying thrill ride in the city, is considering a new ride that may be every bit as scary.
Thousands of people ride the Big Shot, a ride that blasts thrill-seekers 160 feet skyward in two seconds up the tower's 228-foot mast extending like a needle from the top of the tower. Not quite as intimidating is the High Roller, a roller coaster whose tracks make three orbits of the tower's summit at about 30 mph.
Richard Brown, chief operating officer of the Stratosphere, said the company is exploring a new thrill ride that would drop people more than 700 feet down the side of the tower.
As proposed by the company, the as-yet-unnamed attraction would be what is known in the theme park industry as a "free-fall" ride.
The ride would be loaded at the lower end of the tower and would take passengers on an elevator ride along the tower's exterior to the 740-foot level -- about three-quarters of the way up. The ride would be mounted on the tower's east side, affording views of the Strip and downtown.
At the peak of the climb, the carriage would then move to a J-shaped track where it would drop straight down in a free fall. At the lowest end of the J, the track would cross over Las Vegas Boulevard.
Brown said the proposal is under review and it would take several months for approvals, engineering and construction.