The abominable snowman with the glowing red eyes who growls as your bobsled shoots by? Not scary. The rumbling mountain itself, which threatens to rain avalanches of snow down on you? Not scary. The sensation that your ridiculous carnival-style seat belt might come unbuckled as you hurtle down the track? Pretty damn scary. In 1984, 48-year-old Dolly Regene Young was killed when she unbuckled her seat belt during the ride and was thrown from her sled onto an oncoming train. Then, more recently, while disembarking, two teenage girls clutched each other in mock horror. “Oh, my god, my seat belt totally came off,” squealed one. “It was so scary!” Statistics wonks who like to quote figures on plane crashes and shark attacks will frown on anectodal evidence, but once, when I was a kid, my seat belt, too, came unbuckled. If not for the Matterhorn's feeling of barely controlled chaos, you've probably ridden more thrilling parking-lot trams.

—Gendy Alimurung

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