British Columbia as a whole is teeming with outdoor adventure. As a lover of all things intense and extreme, I’ve found no shortage of crazy activities to try out across the province. While finding new ways to get my adrenaline pumping has been a relatively easy task, the real issue I’ve encountered over the years has been in choosing which activity I want to take part in.
The first time I encountered this was choosing between skydiving and bungee jumping. I’d heard a lot about each of these activities from friends before I actually took part in either of them, and knew that each had their own set of pros and cons. Bungee jumping is quite a bit cheaper, plus will give you a whole series of free falls while bouncing up and down. Skydiving on the other hand will give you one, longer freefall plus a scenic airplane ride.
I eventually decided to give skydiving a try first. Some friends and I made our way out to Golden, BC to get airborne with Extreme Yeti skydiving company. Located along the local airfield in Golden, Extreme Yeti is the best place to go for taking a dive over the spectacular Rocky Mountains.
My thoughts were far from the ground and the mountains when I arrived however, as I was almost immediately presented with a death waiver to sign. I laughed nervously as I had to fill out an emergency contact in case the jump should go awry. Fortunately, the staff were quite used to nervous first timers and explained that dying in a car crash was much more likely than dying during a skydive, so making it to the airstrip in the first place was actually the riskiest part of my experience.
Once I had signed my life away, it was time to hop into my blue jumpsuit and board the plane. I had taken rides in some small 12-person puddle hoppers in the past, but nothing compared to the tiny size of what I was about to take off in. My friend and I, along with the two guides we were about to jump tandem with, squeezed onto some floor space behind the one and only seat, belonging to the pilot. It also wasn’t until we had actually taken off that I also realized the plane was missing a door – all the more easy for jumping out I figured.
Once airborne, we took a stunning tour of the surrounding mountain range, catching glimpses of the mountaintop Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Before I knew it however, my guide was gesturing me over to the open door frame so we could begin our dive. It wasn’t until my feet touched the small step on the outside of the frame that the full extent of what I was about to do sank in. Trembling as much as I was, one of the pluses of skydiving I found was that you only had to passively fall out of the plane, before gravity (and your guide if you’re diving tandem) took control.
In a flash, I was plummeting towards the ground squealing in half terror, half euphoria. Then, all of a sudden, I felt the parachute open and regained my bearings. Looking down, I was still far above the surrounding mountaintops and spent my ten minute descent taking in the scenery. After the rapid freefall, I felt fully suspended in the parachute until I plopped down into a field with much more grace than I was expecting coming out of a parachute ride.
Altogether, skydiving anywhere is a pretty once-in-a-lifetime experience. For me however, I was hooked on the adrenaline and knew I was going to need to do something similar again. This time though, I decided to try out the other extreme activity I had previously considered: bungee jumping.
This time I was off to Whistler, BC and Whistler Bungee. They have a convenient office right in Whistler Village and after a short shuttle trip, my buddy and I were standing on a bridge over the Cheakamus River, watching other daredevils jump, fall and spring up and down.
I could feel an excited lump building in my throat and soon enough, I was the one getting saddled into a harness and attached to a giant chord. There were a couple of options for how you could approach your jump: backwards, attached at the feet, etcetera, but I opted for a basic chest mounting.
Before I attempt any leap of faith, I have to give myself a 3-2-1 countdown and could feel myself stalling the count slightly before I finally leaped. I flipped around as I plummeted towards the river, only to be halted by a tug of the chord. A lot of people worry about whiplash at this point, but the elasticity was more than enough to dispel the notion of an uncomfortable stop. Instead, I sprung back up (and down and up and down again), giggling gleefully. As the bounces calmed down in intensity, I got to see more of the surrounding river and canyon from all angles before getting hoisted back up to safety atop the bridge.
After having completed both activities, they both proved to get my adrenaline pumping massively, and I would highly recommend giving them both a try!
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