Skydiving Lake Elsinore

Skydive Elsinore
20701 Cereal Street
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
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Type: Outdoors
Category: Thrills
Company: Friends, Dates you want to impress/scare
Cost: $299 for the first jump (solo) course; $189 for Tandem; group discounts available. DVD/Photo package for an additional $90

Quick-Rec: Wear shorts, athletic shoes, and a comfortable shirt. Restrooms are clean, and there is a snack bar with burgers, hot dogs, and cold drinks to wash everything (butterflies included) down.

Tip: Make an appointment for your jump, and plan on spending most of your day at Lake Elsinore. Lie to your friends that the non-refundable deposit is more than just $30 - it will keep them from backing out.

As soon as the car is parked, it hits you: Today, you are jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. And paying for the privilege. And the friends you dragged with you HATE you right now. But by the end of the day, you'll be clearing your schedule to feel the rush again.

Skydive Elsinore has it all when it comes to skydiving. Multiple planes and runways mean that the sky is always littered with colorful canopies rushing (I mean, "gently floating") toward the various landing areas. The prep area includes students doing their first tandem jump, first-time solo jumpers, and even 12-person teams practicing intricate dive formations. For any non-jumpers in your party, there are picnic tables and shady areas for them to sit, relax, and pinpoint the exact moment in their lives when they became the wuss of the pack.

For first time jumpers, there are two options to choose from - the traditional Tandem (which is what everyone does) or, the First Jump Course. Due to my fear of dying with another human strapped to my back, I opted for the latter, which the FJC allows you to do after completing a 6 hour class. Don't worry, you won't be alone in your solo plunge - during the freefall there will be two instructors at your side to help stabilize your body as it whips through the air at 120 MPH. Their other job is to pull your cord in case you freeze up or get distracted by the birds flying beneath you.

Most people shy away from the FJC because they claim they are impatient and don't want to "wait six hours." Trust me, it's worth it. The lesson goes by quickly, and you will spend a majority of the time making horribly inappropriate jokes hoping that the forced laughter will distract you from what you are about to do. The instructors are friendly and absolutely committed to your safety, and before moving to each subsequent section, they make sure each student is 100% confident with the previous lesson.

Granted, learning just how many different things can go wrong is a wee jarring at first, but at least you will know how to free yourself should you become entangled with another jumper.

During the 15 minute plane ride to 12,500 ft, my instructors split the time between reviewing every minor detail, and telling me several jump stories (from the book of over 11,000 jumps they've completed). Suddenly, it came my time to take the plunge and....WHOOSH.

The feeling is uncanny. With the amount of wind that hits your body, even the slightest change in position can drastically alter your movement. After running through 40 seconds of body an altimeter checks, I pulled my arms in and spent 10 seconds shooting through the air, Superman style. That alone was worth the price of admission.

5,500 feet is where you pull your cord and release the canopy. The next five minutes are spent floating to the ground, enjoying the views. Stuck in one side of your helmet is a one-way radio; once your instructors reach the ground they direct you to one of the three landing areas. Due to my amazing ability (or luck, whatever), I nailed my landing perfectly, collected my equipment, and trekked back to the group.

Now is when the real fun begins; spending the next few days reliving the entire experience and feeling like you can accomplish anything is fun and - be warned - highly (no pun intended) addictive.

Do it. It will be one of the best days of your life.


Ian Richards said...

Sounds killer, I'm in next time I'm in LA

Christina said...

This might just convince me to end my reign as "wuss of the pack"...sounds like a blast.

S. H. said...

Well, I guess I need to drag some friends out there.

Jackie D said...

SUPERMAN STYLE!! What a fantastic idea.

cesar cipres said...

Is amzin the firs jump,i want to try my second in this place. :)=];;<

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