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Vuoristorata is a classic wooden roller coaster located at the Linnanmäki amusement park in Helsinki, Finland. It was built in the winter of 1950 by Linnanmäki on the basis of drawings by the Danish builder Valdemar Lebech. The construction work was led by the Danish ride operator Svend Jarlström, who at the time owned most of Linnanmäki's rides. Vuoristorata was opened on 13 July 1951, and at the time, was the largest roller coaster in the Nordic countries. Expected to last up to 15 years, it was originally designed as a temporary attraction for the amusement park, opened in 1950. One of the main reasons for its construction was to attract tourists from the 1952 Summer Olympics held in the city. Since then, its temporary status was renewed for extended periods, until it was eventually regarded as a permanent structure. Since its opening in 1951, Vuoristorata has been the most popular ride at Linnanmäki every year. It is the most famous amusement ride in Finland, and a symbol of the Linnanmäki park; even the old park logo had a shape representing the climbs and descents of Vuoristorata. Vuoristorata has never had a name differing from the general word used for roller coaster rides; "Vuoristorata" simply means "roller coaster" in Finnish (lit. vuoristo = mountain range, rata = track; mountain range track). Vuoristorata is also notable for its features. It is actually a copy of another roller coaster, Rutschebanen, opened in 1932 at Dyrehavsbakken in Denmark. Valdemar Lebech, who designed both of these tracks (and a few others), simply took the original blueprints of Rutschebanen, which had been downscaled due to changes in location, and designed Vuoristorata. Back in the 1950s, Rutschebanen and Vuoristorata were the two tallest roller coasters in Europe; Vuoristorata is slightly taller and longer of the two. Furthermore, Vuoristorata is the last built roller coaster in the world to use side friction technology. Vuoristorata is still operated by brakemen—as Rutschebanen at Dyrehavsbakken was until the end of the 2009 season, as well as a handful of other roller coasters around Europe and one in Australia. Vuoristorata has been carefully maintained throughout the years. Apart from the oak wooden cars, nothing remains of the original structure. To maintain safety, all the wooden planks have been gradually replaced at least five times. The subsequent restorations have been done while carefully maintaining the original layout; all the wooden parts are replacements but are consistent with the coaster's original design and character. Vuoristorata is among the few roller coasters in the world to have been awarded the ACE Coaster Classic status by the American Coaster Enthusiasts club.
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