Skydiving… An activity that many wouldn’t ever consider participating in. Who’s to blame them though, you are throwing yourself out of a plane from 13,500 ft, trusting solely on a parachute packed by humans historically known to be prone to error. Even with all this risk, people have been taking the plunge since the first intentional free-fall jump in 1919 (performed by Leslie Irvin). Parachuting competitions date back as early as the 1930’s and in 1952 it became recognized as an international sport.
It’s something that had been on my bucket-list for awhile now and I wasn’t actually sure if it was something I would be able to strike off. Back in 2009 I wrote a blog post on 25 things about myself and #22 read: “I am deathly afraid of heights, although I have never let it hold me back. I plan on completely facing this fear by skydiving before I’m 30.” For as long as I can remember I’ve always had a fear of heights and falling, As hard as it may have been, I have purposely exposed myself to these fears in numerous different situations and scenarios, whether it be climbing firetowers back home in NY, standing (sort of) close to cliff’s edges, or getting on ropes and working the big walls at the local climbing gym (this last one honestly wasn’t very often). Not matter what I did, the queasy feeling wouldn’t go away and the thought of jumping out of a plane seemed impossible (I would even get nervous seeing my friends get close to the edge). Over the past few years, plenty of friends have gone jumping and a couple even invited me to tag along but each and every single time I was not ready to commit.
Fast forward to the second to last week of August 2014. Completely out of nowhere, my brother sends me a text asking if I wanted to go skydiving Labor Day weekend, he had never mentioned the desire in the past, and it took me by complete surprise. With a little over a year left before my 30th birthday, time was running out and my natural fear of heights hadn’t changed. As soon as I saw the message I knew that if I didn’t commit to his proposal now, I would probably never go. I quickly replied back with a couple questions on the time, date, and cost of the trip and the next thing I knew we were scheduled to jump the following Saturday at 11AM near New Paltz, NY.
Looking back at that fateful day, I couldn’t be happier with my decision to go and my commitment to taking this leap of faith. The experience of skydiving is one like no other. The multitude of various thoughts, feelings, and sensations that go through your mind during the prep, the ride, the jump, the free fall, the flight, and finally the landing are so surreal I think they’re actually too good to miss. I knew this could be a once in a lifetime experience for me and therefore I knew I had to film it. Most places will film your dive for an additional cost but the ranch I went to allowed me to use my own Go Pro equipment with the only stipulation that it had to be worn with the chest harness accessory (no helmet straps permitted). Take a seat, click the link, and enjoy the ride. I know I sure did!
And just for the record, I have no idea if I am over actually my fear of heights yet or not, but I will say a couple things in the mean time: Skydiving is amazing and I would totally do it again! Also, despite the perception of danger, fatalities are rare. About 21 skydivers are confirmed killed each year in the US, roughly one death for every 150,000 jumps, that’s about 0.0007% for all the non-math majors out there. Get out there and experience the true “Art of Flight”!!
Chris is the Store Manager of our Denali New Haven location and shares a huge passion for the outdoors. His favorite activities are hiking, biking, camping, and kayaking. He also participates in numerous outdoor events in the area as well as helps lead our Denali Outdoors Program.
Denali and Trailblazer have formed a family of independent outdoor stores located in New Haven, Trumbull, Branford, CT, at Mohegan Sun and in Wakefield, RI. Our stores feature clothing, footwear and gear from The North Face, Patagonia, Marmot, Horny Toad, Woolrich, UGG, Merrell, New Balance and more. We strive to fulfill all the outdoor needs of our customers with premier product selections as well as offering vast knowledge of the industry. Visit Trailblazer or Denali today and find everything you need for your adventures.