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High fliers: Skydiving at Trent

Fourth-year English student Sarah Miller is addicted to the thrill of the dive. She feels that the sensation of leaping from a small airplane, 10,000 feet above the earth, is the epitome of freedom.

Many people might disagree and deem skydiving a game reserved for mad hatter and March hare types. But Sarah would suggest naysayers simply need to experience skydiving to have their opinions reversed.

"The first time I jumped I was really surprised at how beautiful it was. Once your parachute opens and you’re under the canopy, it’s very peaceful, floating down. It’s also fun. It doesn’t feel like falling at all, like you might feel on a roller coaster. It’s like flying," says Sarah.

Sarah’s first skydiving experience was a "tandem jump," which means she was in a harness attached to an instructor. They jumped together and, after 40 seconds of free fall, the instructor was responsible for opening the chute. Another option for first-time jumpers is a static line jump. In this type of jump, the plane ascends to about 4,000 feet and the jumper’s parachute opens automatically when they exit the plane.

"My first jump was on the Canada Day weekend in 2001," remembers Sarah. "I just wanted to try it, but I liked it so much that I’ve continued."

This year, Sarah decided to hook up with other Trent students who love skydiving or who might like to give it a try. She has formed the Trent Skydiving Club and held an information meeting in early October. So many people turned out that it was standing-room-only in the Otonabee College seminar room.

This is how the club will work: members will book group jumping dates at Skydive Toronto near Barrie, a drop zone that adheres to Canadian Sport Parachute Association regulations. Carpooling will be arranged and members who can attend will travel together for a two-day excursion. Jumps will be completed on the first day, followed by a stay-over at the site’s bunk houses, and more jumps can follow on the second day. The club’s first scheduled skydiving dates are November 2 and 3.

"There’s no cost to stay in the bunk houses," says Sarah, adding that an individual’s first jump is more expensive than subsequent experiences. There is extensive instruction that leads up to the first jump, accounting for the higher initial price. Trent club members will pay $193 for their first static line jump and $258 for their first tandem jump. The rates drop to approximately $50 for subsequent jumps.

Sarah is hopeful there will be a good number of Trent students who attend the first excursion. Anyone interested can contact her directly at greenwinged@hotmail.com or skydiving@trentu.ca. She can also be reached by phone at 748-5739.

Photo 1 : Sarah Miller is the driving force behind Trent’s new Skydiving Club.

Posted October 18, 2002

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Last updated October 24, 2002