There is no doubt BASE jumping is an extremely dangerous sport. Fatalities can be caused by anything from improper gear to pulling the chute too late and crashing into a cliff. And now, experts are making the leap with inexperienced civilians strapped to their chest.
BASE jumping is a newer sport that got it’s name–and arguably its popularity–in the late ‘70s from a filmmaker shooting the athletes jumping. “BASE” is an acronym that comes from the four types of fixed objects a person can jump off of: buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs). Today, most instructors require new jumpers to have logged at least 100 skydive experiences before launching themselves of one of the said fixed objects. Skydiving, while risky, occurs at a much higher altitude, allowing the jumper to adjust for anything that may go wrong. Instead of falling thousands of feet, BASE jumpers drop hundreds and have only a few seconds to compensate for any problems that may arise in the air.
For those who have taken the danger into consideration, tandem jumping is a great way to try it out. Whether it’s been waiting to be checked off your bucket list or a life-long passion waiting to be explored, these two companies will help you fly without expense and years of training.
Tandem BASE, a company in Twin Falls, ID, started offering tandem jumps just over a year ago and was the first of it’s kind. Their method of tandem jumping is derived from the tandem skydiving method. For $399, you can jump from 486 feet from the Perrine Bridge, the company’s most popular jump site. Abbie Mashaal and Mark Kissner founded Tandem BASE with the idea that taking off from a bridge reduces the risk of being being hurt if thrown back towards it. And now, they’ve partnered up with Vertical Visions, the group responsible for Bridge Day, a sponsored event in New River Gorge, WV during which hundreds of BASE jumpers participate, and almost 80,000 spectators attend. It’s the largest extreme sports event in the world. Tandem BASE is offering tandem jump Bridge Day packages that will allow those new to the BASE jumping world to participate in one of the biggest events of the year.
One other company has run with the idea of dual jumping, Moab BASE Adventures. Located in Moab, UT they claim to be the only place in the world that offers tandem jumping from a cliff. Mario Richard, a long-time jumper and former Tandem BASE instructor, started the business with his wife, Steph Davis, a professional climber. Prices range from $399 to jump from the Mineral Canyon site (900 feet) to $599 from Parriot Mesa (1400 feet). The founding couple was married at the Parriot Mesa jump site, a two-hour hike and climb up into the cliffs, and a view that will take your breath away before your feet even leave the ground. They also offer a GoPro souvenir video and professional photography services for additional costs.
At the end of the day, BASE jumpers take risks because the experience is unlike anything else in the world. And thanks to these two companies, that experience just got much more attainable for many more people.