The most exciting addition of the Las Vegas Stratosphere thrill ride family is the Skyjump, where visitors can jump off of the Stratosphere Tower of Las Vegas and alight unharmed on the ground below. The technical name for the attraction is “commercial decelerator,” and it is now the highest one in the world, garnering a Guinness world record for the Stratosphere. Skyjumpers are dressed in bright, strap-covered jumpsuits, hooked up to a long cable, escorted to the edge of a 855-ft high platform, and told to jump when ready.
The Skyjump experience of Las Vegas starts downstairs, in the retail level of the Stratosphere hotel. Tickets for the Skyjump are generally purchased separately fromInsanity, Excream, and Big Shot tickets. That’s because this exciting Las Vegas Stratosphere ride costs $99.00 and requires a whole outfit change, a safety talk, and a signed waiver. An entire shopping unit in the Stratosphere’s mall has been converted into a skyjump store, ticket booth, and re-entry point.
After suiting up, guests are escorted to the Las Vegas Stratosphere Skyjump takeoff point on level 108. Here, within the glass-enclosed booth, they’ll be hooked first to a safety rope, then to the Skyjump itself. They’ll be positioned between the two fixed guide cables that stretch to the ground far below, one on either side of a giant bulls-eye that is the landing pad. The actual weight-bearing cable that Skyjumpers will rely on to control their descent dangles directly over the bulls-eye, and is connected to a complicated set of pullies and spools that cause the deceleration.
The safety talk happens on the edge of the platform, with toes dangling over the lip and strongwinds battering the brave riders. After a brief discussion of what not to do, a rider is left on their own to jump… or to stand there indecisively until the derision of their friends overcomes all fear.
Once off the platform, things happen slowly. There is no free fall; the decelerator kicks in immediately and brings Skyjumpers to an even 40 miles per hour. The fall to the bottom takes around thirteen seconds, which seems like a lot of time with a pounding heart and a rising scream. It’s enough time to adjust body position, scan the Strip, shout at friends, wave at the diners in the Top of the World, and realize that the first step was the most frightening thing about the thrill ride of Las Vegas.