Keep your hands inside the ride at all times… © Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/Getty Images
This roller coaster at Skyline Park in Bad Wörishofen, Germany, like all other modern coasters, can trace its lineage back to the engineering work of Russian refugees living in 17th-century Portugal. To recreate the fun of sledding down snow-covered hills, the Russians built ice-bearing wooden platforms and ramps similar to very large playground slides. As the concept of the ‘Russian Mountain’ ride caught on across Europe, mechanical parts came into play, including sled-like vehicles to ride in, and rails to keep the carts on track. Over the centuries, these coaster-like rides grew to resemble the extreme, gravity-challenging thrill rides we see at modern theme parks. Where is your favorite roller coaster?