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Thrill-Seekers Shake Off Quake Jitters as Magic Mountain Reopens

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After nearly three weeks of being rocked, rolled and rumbled by the Northridge earthquake and countless aftershocks, Holly Stiverson and her friends wanted to relax and have some fun Saturday.

So, of all things, they decided to try the roller coaster rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.

“We came here to get away from the shaking that’s going on in Northridge,” said Stiverson, 20, of Northridge, who did not mind rocking and rolling on a roller coaster.

Open Saturday on a limited basis for the first time since the temblor forced its closure nearly three weeks ago, the amusement park attracted a small number of visitors.

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“Attendance is lighter than what we hope for this time of the year,” said Bonnie Rabjohn, a park spokeswoman.

None of the more than 100 rides at the park suffered any mechanical breakdown or structural damage in the Jan. 17 quake. However, one road leading to the Ninja roller coaster and the Jetstream water ride was blocked by a dirt slide, forcing park officials to shut down the rides until a retaining wall could be erected, Rabjohn said.

This weekend’s profits will be donated to the Red Cross for earthquake victims, park officials said.

Imre Konya, 20, of Budapest, Hungary, who is visiting friends in Glendale, took his first roller coaster ride Saturday. He said it was nothing compared to the Northridge earthquake, which rudely jolted him out of bed.

“It’s not comparable to the earthquake,” Konya said. “I can choose to come here, but I can’t choose when the earthquake will come.”

The theme park was scheduled to reopen earlier, but there was not enough water pressure to operate some rides and Caltrans needed to make repairs along the Golden State Freeway. Derek Spears, 26, who recently moved to California from Houston, said there are a lot of risks in life. “You might as well take chances that are a lot of fun.”


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