Bucket List: Skydive in the Yukon

I’ve only experience skydiving back home in Australia when I was 17 years old. As the plane ascends into the sky, your heartbeat races with anticipation as the ground gets farther and farther away. You’re strapped to a “stranger” that you will entrust your life to, and as you shuffle towards the plane’s door, your heart beats into your throat as though it will pump out of your body. The doors whoosh open and the wind takes your breath away.

“You ready?!” the instructor yells rhetorically, as though you have a choice, and out of the plane you descend in freefall, adrenalin pulsing through your body. As the land draws closer and closer, like a terrifyingly exhilarating dream, there’s the sudden sharp pull upwards, of safety, as the parachute is released and you feel like a soaring bird overlooking mountains and lakes.

“Skydiving has always been popular and it has just now come back on the scene in Yukon, thanks to Skydive BC agreeing to come north to teach classes,” said Chani Fleshman, member of the Yukon Sport Parachute Association [YSPA]. “The background of skydiving in the Yukon dates back to the late 1970s, but nothing consistent has ever been offered here. Recently the skydivers in Yukon started Yukon Sport Parachute Association to promote the sport in the Yukon.”

The view over Carcross and Bennett Lake

Skydive BC is based in Prince George and teaches tandem and solo first-jump courses. Yukon skydivers have been supporting the efforts of Skydive BC in travelling to the Yukon to teach classes, as this opportunity is not currently available here and would not exist without them.

The YSPA was formed in April 2018 and they currently have 14 members and counting. “The goal for our organization is to promote regular skydive events within Yukon,” said Fleshman. “We want as many opportunities to share our beautiful land with the sports community (which stretches around the world) as possible. Skydivers are a kind bunch who seek joy and spread it with others … something I really like about the sky community … purely sharing our joy and love of the sport.”

What’s involved in skydiving?

First, you must decide what kind of jump you want to do: tandem or solo? If you are only going to jump once, then a tandem jump is recommended. If you think you may want to take up skydiving, you can sign up for the solo class.

A tandem skydive is where you, the passenger, are along for the ride under the same parachute as a trained tandem skydiver. These jumps are taken from a higher altitude than the solo jump and allow for the freefall time before the parachute is open.

A solo jump requires more pre-jump training but allows the student to operate their own parachute landing under supervision and radio instruction. The solo jump is done from a lower altitude, focusing on the student’s canopy ride (with parachute open).

Neither solo nor tandem students need to worry about pulling their own parachute on their first jump, which is where the instructors come in. If you are on a tandem, follow the instructions of your tandem master, as they will pull the parachute (you are just along to enjoy the freefall, the canopy ride and the beautiful view). If you are a solo student, the instructor begins the deployment of your parachute when you leave the plane.

Successful skydive landing in Carcross Desert

If you are a tandem student, training is shorter but costs more. The tandem instructor will brief you on procedure and body position, answer any questions and set you up with gear for the jump. Although this could be as quick as an hour or two, depending on the weather, prepare for a whole day.

The solo course takes a whole day, including the first jump, depending on weather, class size and how quickly students become familiar with procedures. Times can be booked, although weather delays are always possible and completely beyond anyone’s control.

Prepare to spend the day—bring snacks, meals and drinks. There are many local businesses to check out in Carcross, as well, and the beautiful beach and other sights.

Skydive BC will be in Carcross July 20–August 20. They will be jumping daily, weather permitting, and want to help folks achieve their goals and make some checks on their bucket lists. Visit www.skydivebc.ca/skyjumping or phone 250-964-8228 to book your jump this summer.

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