Last year, my cousin, her fiancee and another friend decided to travel across the European continent.
After hours of research and debate, we decided to go with the travel company Topdeck, as we thought they might have been a bit more 'mature' compared to other tour companies.
From the moment the I saw the optional activities for Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, I knew I had to do skydiving! I mean, what better place to throw yourself out of a perfectly working helicopter!!??
On one of the last days of June 2013, a group of us from the tour (Summer Fun & Sailing, June 28, 2013) got on a bus and were driven down to the skydiving office in town, where we signed our lives away and where most of us signed up for the photos and video package.
From there it was back up the hill to the landing site. There were 11 of us all up - 10 jumpers and 1 observer: unfortunately Daniel (the bloke on the left end) was too tall to jump.
I was in the pair to go last up, so as everybody else was taking their turns, I was doing my utmost to not freak out. This plan worked well until it was my turn to get into the helicopter!
It was fine for about the first 5 minutes, the helicopter pilot took us on a nice scenic tour - Daniel was on our jump up front with the pilot, so he got some good shots of the Swiss Alps - and then the nerves set in! Why the hell did I decide to do this??
When we reached the jump point, I was the first one out. I think this was the best way, I don't know if I would have been able to do it after watching Danilo.
My instructor opened the side door and I just got a faceful of forceful wind. Then he tells me to stand on the helicopter leg thingys! So I was standing on them and he was crouched in the doorway, 'Now just fall' he says calmly.
A faceful of strong wind and nothing between me and the ground 12000 feet away??? No! I wanted to get back in that helicopter on the ASAP!
Finally, I screwed up my courage and leaned forward like a banana off of the skid and plunge toward the green grass of the valley.
The freefall of a skydive has got to be one of the scariest things you can ever do.
Me, clearly not enjoying the freefall, and the valley I was plummeting towards at high speed.
The instructor finally pulled on the parachute, and (thankfully) there was no problem in the deployment! I had survived the first leg of the drop! The deployment of the parachute can be quite a shock to your joints though, one second your horizontal, a microsecond later, and you're suddenly vertical! The straps certainly give your groin something to think about - lads watch out!
My instructor did try and move about by pulling on either side of the chute (left to go left, etc) but I was having none of that! Just a leisurely glide down to earth was what I wanted!
Before you land, you practice landing. This is using your hands to pull your legs perpendicular to your body. It's really hard to do when your dropping through gravity. Luckily, I managed the landing without any twisted ankles or broken bones!
All in all, the drop itself was about 2-3 minutes (pretty sure mine went on the longer end because I refused to let him 'sway' the chute).
Although I will always treasure this experience, there is no way in hell that I would ever put myself through it again!
The dive itself cost CHF 390 (approx $500 AUD) through Skydive XDream.
The company have a great team of experienced divers, many of who have passed there 1000th jump mark.
If you happen to find yourself in the vicinity and are up for a bit of an adventure, I would definitely recommend them. We even got a free drink bottle!