Right. So — today, let’s tackle a topic that both newbie and not-so-newbie skydivers can dig their teeth into: “extreme” skydiving.
What qualifies as extreme skydiving is certainly an enigma. The interwebs, after all, are being a bit coy about providing a clear answer as to what is considered “extreme,” though there’s plenty of curiosity around it. Here at WNY Skydiving, we have our own ideas — and a few examples to get that curiosity extra-stoked.
When we define “space” it means really anything beyond the Karman Line — out beyond the grasp of Earth’s atmosphere. That makes it not skydiving at all, actually — it’s space diving, technically. So far, four humans (with an enormous cast of technical supporters and gargantuan budgets) have done this type of stratospheric jump: Joseph Kittinger in 1959 (and again in 1960), Yevgeni Andreyev in 1962, then — again, in quick succession, Felix Baumgartner in 2012 and Alan Eustace in 2014. Note: Alan’s is the current world record for highest and longest freefall jump.
Professional skydiver Luke Aikins is — so far, at least — the only athlete to have pulled this off without a parachute (or wingsuit) slowing his fall. On July 30 of 2016, he jumped out of an airplane cruising along at 25,000 feet in nothin’ but a Stride Gum-branded jumpsuit and a GPS positioning system to help guide him down to a 100’ x 100’ piece of netting oriented somewhere below. What the heart-stopping action:
Guess what? If you’ve got the dough to spend, you can do this extreme skydive your very own self! The Everest Skydive operation allows skydiving in the Sagamartha National Park, home to Mount Everest – which is, of course, the highest mountain peak in the world. This is no-joke expensive — a solo skydive will set you back a cool $22,000, and a tandem goes for $25,000 — and it only takes place within a small conditional window in late fall. However: If you manage it, you’ll get some skydiving photos and videos that almost nobody has in their arsenal. They’ll really round out your Bumble profile, believe you me.
“Skydive North Pole” sounds like it could very well be a dropzone, but it totally isn’t. Skydiving at the North Pole is only for the most intrepid, richest and keenest Santa Claus wanna-bes, as it only takes place once a year (on the years it’s planned) — just like Christmas, right? The same adventurers that do the Mt. Everest skydives handle this one, so it cruises in at $37,000 for solo jumpers and $77,000 for Tandem Jumpers. Want video? That’ll be $40,000. But you’ll be the only one in your family (and maybe your state, and possibly your country) to have done it. Watch this guy not just skydiving – but sky surfing into the North Pole:
In August of 2018, a solar eclipse cruised across the northwestern United States. A whole bevy of skydivers were able to make skydives during its extraordinary several-minutes-long totality, experiencing this phenomenon in perhaps the closest way possible. Ask any of them and they’ll tell you what a surreal experience it is to jump in the uncanny twilight of totality, a black sun overhead. It’s truly incredible, and it’s something you might be able to do if you join us at WNY Skydiving on April 8, 2024, when we get our own solar eclipse to play in! Watch this space.
Meanwhile – this footage should give you the appropriate goosebumps:
One thing’s for sure: skydiving is never run-of-the-mill. Whether you’re jumping from space or our customary 10,000 feet, you’ll feel like Iron Man and James Bone all rolled into one. What are you waiting for? Let’s get extreme! (Or at least start out with your first tandem skydive.)