When I first covered the news that an all-glass slide would be installed 1,000 feet above Los Angeles, wrapping the outside of the city's highest skyscraper, I went with a headline that asked, "Is this your worst nightmare?" And now that the Skyslide has officially opened this week, it only seemed fair that I bring back a dispatch from the front line — and see for myself if it's actually the stuff of nightmares, or of bucket-list dreams.
To recap, the Skyslide that opened over the weekend from building owner OUE Limited now allows tourists to slide from the 70th floor of the U.S. Bank Tower down to the 69th, along the outside of the skyscraper, while a four-inch-think clear class wall protects thrill seekers from death by gravity. The ride departs from the new Skyspace, which also happens to be the tallest open-air observation deck in California.
So I went to check it out, lived to tell the tale — and brought back what you need to know about the whole experience if you want to try it some day... or if you think you know for sure that you don't.
1. Expect to wait in line.
Given that opening weekend saw 3,000 visitors, and the attraction was expecting about 700 on the "slow" day I visited, you can expect to wait in line. It moves fairly quickly, but you should know that everyone in line will be Snapchatting so don't pick your nose with abandon.
2. They don't reinforce the no-recording policy.
When you get to the front of the line, you may be tempted to tuck your phone away for safekeeping, law-abiding person that you are. But nobody enforces that policy — which seems to mainly be in place for liability's sake, and for the sake of getting you to buy the souvenir portrait afterward — so feel free to keep documenting. (You didn't hear it here.)
3. You might need it for backup.
Your phone may be your best option for getting fun snaps and vids from your experience. Because yes, there's that option to buy a very cool portrait at the end — one that shows the unique perspective that makes it look like you're flying — but the camera wasn't working during my ride. Still working out the kinks, I guess. (If you do get the chance? Buy it!)
4. You'll get tucked into a little rug.
You don't have to take your shoes off or anything, but an attendant at the top will have you sit down as he tucks you into a mat with handles at the front — think magic carpet — on which you'll slide down. Then you need to scoot your own tush off the precipice — and off you go!
5. Point your phone down for the most unique view.
Remember that phone I suggested you hang onto? Well, here's where you'd be wise to point it down if you can summon the presence of mind. The views overall are astounding, but the most unusual part is that the glass surrounds you on the underside too.
6. It's over super fast.
Not unlike an amusement park roller coaster you've waited hours to ride, it's over disproportionately fast compared to the buildup. It takes just a couple of seconds on the way down... but it's like nothing you've done before. And so cool.
(Can you see it up there?)
7. It's unlike any other view of L.A.
To that end, you'll see views that make L.A. look like a whole new city — even if you know it well. I grew up here, but I still found the views totally disorienting. Typically, I see the city from street level. No one — except pilots! — would be accustomed to gazing out across the city and seeing nothing but helipads below. The views are endless in all directions.
8. It looks pretty freaky at a glance.
You might look at photos of this thing and be like "nope" right off the bat. The girl in front of me in line had to get up off the platform after being situated in her rug — she was too scared to pull the trigger. But that said...
9. Try it and you'll get more street cred than you deserve.
I have a sporadic fear of heights — one that sometimes forces me to pull off mountain roads to let my husband take the wheel, and one that once caused me to turn back near the summit of Yosemite's Half Dome after an episode of vertigo while hiking. I've never skydived nor bungee jumped (nor wanted to), but I've flown in helicopters, blimps, hot air balloons, and teeny planes, related to the job of covering such experiences. So I didn't know how this would strike me.
In the end? It wasn't nearly as scary — nor dramatic — as it looks from photos. And it didn't give me any of those physical symptoms like sweaty palms or racing heart. So if you do it, your friends will think you're more badass than you are. And that works!
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