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- Russian Mountains were winter sled rides held on specially constructed hills of ice, sometimes up to 200 feet tall, being the first type of roller coaster. Known from the 17th century, the slides were built to a height of between 70 and 80 feet, consisted of a 50 degree drop, and were reinforced by wooden supports. In the 18th century they were especially popular in St. Petersburg and surrounding areas, from where by the late 18th century their usage and popularity spread to Europe. Sometimes wheeled carts were used instead of tracks, like in the Katalnaya Gorka built in Catherine II's residence in Oranienbaum. The first such wheeled ride was brought to Paris in 1804 under the name Les Montagnes Russes (French for "Russian Mountains"), and the term Russian Mountains continues to be a synonym for roller coaster in many countries today.
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