Can you skydive in the winter? In some places, you can! Winter skydives are quite popular in many (warm) parts, such as Florida or Texas. And while cold weather skydiving experiences are totally doable with the right attire, jumping in delightful blue skies and toasty sunshine is most ideal. Wait, so, do skydivers just take months off at a time!? Nope. Safety is number one 365 days a year, here’s how!
Is it ok to go skydiving in winter? Yes … just not at this skydiving center (BIG SAD)! When the universe determined the geographic location of WNY Skydiving, skydivers were not considered! As much as we would love to be open year-round, our season runs from late April to mid-November. We always put safety first, and winter conditions – frigid, and usually rainy and cloudy – are not conducive for skydiving operations.
When people think about how to stay safe in skydiving they usually think of general maintenance, gear checks, and being an overall “heads up” skydiver. But, what overarches all of these? Currency! Without currency, our gear will become outdated, our gear checks on ourselves and others will become sloppy, and we have a higher potential to become a complacent and negligent skydiver. Oof, the truth hurts!
Example time. Let’s say there are two commercial airline pilots, and they both have thousands of hours flying. However, Pilot A hasn’t flown a plane in a year, and Pilot B flew 10 trips this week. Which pilot would you trust more? It’s the same thing in skydiving. Staying current allows us to be safe skydivers for us and those around us. Period.
We have a few awesome recommendations to stay current during the off-season! And we would like to give you props for taking the first step – thinking about it. Taking accountability, realizing how critical it is to stay up to par, and inquiring about how to do so means you’re already on the right track. Let’s look into a few specific recommendations!
The Tunnel. No, you don’t have to convert over to a full-on tunnel rat (please don’t!), but spending some time individually, with friends, or with a coach in the tunnel is a great way to practice freefall skills. Vertical wind tunnels simulate the freefall portion of a skydive, and whether you are a student skydiver or have thousands of jumps, the tunnel is a useful tool to stay current in the off-season and rapidly increase your skill set during the in-season.
The SIM. The Skydiver’s Information Manual (SIM) is a fantastic tool that is too often overlooked by experienced jumpers. During the jumping season, all the hype is around the actual jumps. Take this time to invest in keeping your noggin sharp with all the safety regulations and recommendations. Parachutist Magazine releases monthly issues, and they’re online!
Practice EPs. Just as you would during the jumping season, practice those Emergency Procedures as if your very next jump will be a cutaway! Stand in front of a mirror and watch yourself go through the motions, this will help with visualization. This can easily be done with or without your gear on – that means no excuses!
Chat with Skydiving Friends. Grab a few of your skydiving buddies, get together, and talk shop. Having open conversations about the sport is critical for growth to happen. If you have any confusion or an itching question you’ve pushed off all season, reach out to a mentor and LEARN.
Travel. Did someone say vacation? If you can, travel to a sunny and 75 dropzone and get your jump on! Many “winter DZs” offer skills camps and host boogies during the winter season. Plus, visiting a new dropzone is exciting! Yes, it can be intimidating, but the best things happen on the other side of that fear, and it’s beautiful to see how expansive the skydiving community is.
Although nothing is better than jumping, don’t let the off-season discourage you. Use it as an opportunity to slow down and learn about the sport in new ways. We can’t wait to see you soon!