Would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane? My answer: If it’s with Skydive New England absolutely, time and time again. And if you yourself have ever had the smallest hint of desire to experience all that this sport as to offer – Then gear up and head out to Lebanaon, Maine where for these guys, it’s just another day at the office.
There’s something about preparing to cross off a significant bucket list item that truly brings people together (Both literally and figuratively). And Skydive New England creates a real sense of community in doing just that. The staff and instructors are passionate about what they do, and the palpability is contagious.
I have to admit that when my alarm clock first went off that morning, my stomach dropped a few notches as I remembered why I was being ushered from my bed. Am I really, truly, and sincerely going to be skydiving just hours from now? Remember, I have a pretty significant fear of heights, so this may have appeared ludicrous to anyone else. I’m a strong proponent for overcoming challenge however, and the importance of stepping, (Or diving) out of one’s comfort zone – And what more of a kickass way to do it?
By noon last Saturday, I had met new and incredibly supportive friends, jumped out of a plane at an elevation of around 13,000 feet, experienced a minute or so of free fall, followed by a five minute canopy ride with absolutely breathtaking views; Spanning Mount Washington and coastal New England. How was your morning?
Upon arriving at Skydive New England I was immediately at ease. The ambiance of this establishment is fabulous, complete with: Upbeat music, an awesome gift shop, yard games, and numerous picnic tables/benches for one’s lounging and viewing pleasure. I would hang out here even if I wasn’t about to tackle one of my greatest adventures, and with the multiple amenities offered, you can do just that. Skydive Lane is home to on-site camping and lodging: Boasting an exciting nightlife lineup, with DJs, bands, and even BBQs on the weekends throughout the summer season. In addition, they are home to the Ripcord Cafe, catering to an array of tastes with an extensive menu of meals and snacks.
The check in process was efficient and easy, and the staff welcoming and friendly. Our thirty minute class covered correct body positioning to safely navigate the venture, allowing for the most optimal experience. This class consisted of in person instruction, as well as video demonstration/information. This comfortable atmosphere allowed for any questions to be addressed, nerves put to rest, and the establishment of an extremely supportive mentality.
Upon completing class, we were free to explore the beautiful grounds, awaiting our individual names over the intercom system, indicating that it was time to meet our new best friend, our United States Parachute Association Certified Tandem Instructor. I was introduced and harnessed, reviewing safety and form once again before loading into the plane. The staff continued to do an amazing job, perfectly balancing education and humor as we climbed higher into the sky. Beautiful landmarks were pointed out, and every step of the process was clearly communicated. The confidence and love that these folks have for this sport can’t help but rub off in such tight quarters. When the side door to the Twin Otter opened and I saw my fellow divers disappearing one by one, I was so focused on technique and the unbeatable views that I didn’t even have time to second guess my decision – And the results were priceless.
Never before had I envisioned myself throwing the “hang loose symbol,” flashing “thumbs up,” and/or blowing kisses to a GoPro while falling two miles to the ground, but I had the time of my life doing it. There were moments when the entire experience felt purely surreal. It’s as if the mundane worries of daily life melt away up there, quite literally on cloud nine. And when the parachute was pulled and we were able to glide, it was as if gravity simply faded away as well. I was given the opportunity to join my Tandem Instructor in a co-pilot opportunity, learning how to maneuver the parachute in different directions for navigational purposes, and play. All the while, the beautiful New England landscape unrolled in front of me.
Upon landing (feet up!), I was greeted with smiling faces, high fives, and the “Skydiver handshake,” which consists of a high/low five followed by a fist bump. It was a once in a lifetime experience, and when you go (Come on, you know that you want to), I insist on documenting your adventure. Picture proof or it didn’t happen, right? The photographs and video that I received are breath taking, and a consistent reminder that this did indeed happen. Whether you’re: Checking off a bucket list item, determined to conquer a fear, looking to challenge yourself, or just trying on a new adventure for size, Skydive New England is the place to do it. The experience in all of its entirety was simply amazing.