Skydiving is something I’ve always wanted to do but never actively pursued, hoping instead that if I waited long enough, an occasion would somehow present itself. Leave it to a daily deal website to fulfill my wish.
In December, Groupon offered a deal for $80 off the price of a tandem jump through Skydive Twin Cities (which, oddly enough, is headquartered across the border in Baldwin, WI). I was lucky enough to have a couple of friends who wanted to go too, so it was on.
It wasn’t until May that we finally got around to making reservations. The certificates were nearly expired, and with thunderstorms forecast on the day of our jump, it looked like we might not get to go. But the weather ended up being perfect: slightly warm, little to no wind, and an overcast sky, which meant we could go up above the clouds and plunge back through them on the way down — a fantastic experience.
The airfield was easy to find, and a mere 40-minute drive from St. Paul. It’s basically a grass airstrip, of the type I haven’t flown off of since my days as a Civil Air Patrol cadet. The staff was very professional, and had a healthy sense of humor about the dangers of their sport. (The instructor’s persistent references to “if the parachute opens” and “if you survive” are apparently a tension-breaker for reluctant newbs.)
All in all, though, I found I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I thought I’d be. There’s an air of unreality about the whole thing that drowns out any real sense of fear. And the fact you’re essentially strapped to a person who clearly knows what they’re doing helps a lot. It’s nice, because they do all the work; you can just enjoy the ride.
And what a ride. Skydiving is one experience in life that truly does not disappoint. To exit an airplane at 10,000+ feet is to commit to something with a level of totality that few other things in life demand. It is awesome, in the truest sense of the word. You can’t understand it until you do it; and after you do it, you’ll want more. My friends and I had the same reaction after we were back on the ground: “Want to go again?” We probably will.