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Lessons in Injury Survival

In my 4 seasons of skydiving, two of them have encountered injuries: one from skydiving (that was oh-so-gracefully my fault) and another completely unrelated to skydiving. Both injuries required physical therapy and time away from the sport. Both injuries took place at the beginning of the season, making time off seem just that much longer.

When something happens that keeps you on the ground, you have two options – deal with it or whine incessantly until no one can stand to be around you.

The former requires a bit of strength of character. Dealing with it also requires you to pick yourself up and find a way to channel the energy you’d otherwise be exerting in the sky to something productive. Keep your mind and body busy while the parts of you that need to recover, can.

I’ve come to learn that physical injuries are very similar to emotional injuries – rest and time off from those things that will only serve to irritate the wound is the only way to bounce back and get back to your healthy self as quickly as possible. Time, and the right therapy, does heal wounds…and, it teaches you patience in the process.

I’m not going to lie, I sit here and preach, but I’ve certainly done my share of complaining and dancing with ants in my pants at the idea of getting back in the sky. I spend every week at PT waiting to ask doc when I’ll be able to get back in the sky – and I’m regularly disappointed when he tells me to wait. But, I also know that when that day comes, I know it’s safe to proceed.

In the meantime, I do what I can to get by – hiking, working out, long walks with the dog, whatever I can do to keep my body moving. And, if there’s one piece of advice I can give from my time on the ground due to injuries, it’s to plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s a vacation to lie on the beach or, in my case, a tunnel trip in May (wee!), do yourself a solid and have something to anticipate other than jumping out of that next aircraft.

Keep moving, keep dreaming, and keep your positive attitude. You might be surprised just how much you actually enjoy outside the world of skydiving – and a positive attitude can only serve to help get you to your goal sooner than you think.

Love and blue skies!


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Tunnel time: Best way to clear your sinuses

So I managed to get in a good 10 minutes of tunnel time on Monday… Just enough to remind me how addictive it is haha!

We did some 3 person belly flying, started off with level control and working on mantis flying to warm up.

The next 2 minutes were spent doing doughnuts (You go into a circle holding hands, then everyone turns to their right and touches the person next to them on the leg, then go back into a circle holding hands, repeat on the left)

After this, we worked on our lateral movement by moving side to side in formation and working in a few rotations to get as many points as possible.

The last 2 minutes were spent doing more doughnuts to work on our control as we had a bit of trouble keeping level during our rotations. I ended up hitting the wall and hurting my knee :(, thankfully that was my last 2 minutes in the tunnel as I was limping for a bit.

Overall, it was a great time. I noticed a steady improvement in my flying, going back in the next few weeks to work on some more belly flying, then I plan on buying an hour and learning to fly mantis 100%.


9 more days and we’ll be on our way to Gananoque for the season open. We’re about 10-15 people heading down if not more, looks like it’ll be quite the fun weekend!
I’m very excited to get on that King Air! Thanks again to Will for getting me all the info about the DZ, there will be a review of our visit as soon as we get back!


PS: I’ll be adding a new section for people who don’t know how to skydive and would like to learn to as soon as we finish with our website update so keep posted!


Blue ones!


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You’re never too old to skydive!

A friend of mine who happens to be a Francophone skydiver from Quebec only took up the sport a few years ago.

She’s someone who impresses me. She has her motorcycle license, she has her skydiving license and she’s just an overall “bad ass” woman.

She gave me permission to post an article that she wrote up for Canpara (Canadian version of Parachutist)

This is the article:

Skydiving in your early 50s?
Written by Normande Cournoyer
Translaled by Gaëlle Vercollier

Yes, it is possible. ln 2004, around the end of the summer, I was
looking for a special project to undertake the following year. As
I was reading the paper one morning, an article really caught
my attention. A woman in her eighties had done a tandem skydive.
Suddenly, I remembered I had been having a recurring dream for a very
long time. I was flying off into the sky and it was always very pleasant.
June 11,2005, was the first tandem, a memorable day spent in total
euphoria. While taking Lebeau Road in Farnham which leads to the
Nouvel Air site, a song by Natasha St-Pier was playing on the radio:
To each their own story (Chacun son histoire) with the following lyrics:
“Taking off, flying, Burning one’s wings, To go through the sky, To
write one’s story … )” What a coincidence! I was far from thinking it was
the beginning of a beautiful adventure.

Well, yes, five weeks later, I was in the air for a second tandem.
Believe me, a third one almost occurred.

Seeing my need for adrenaline, one of my close friends suggested I
take some skydiving lessons. This idea was eating at me because I was in
my early fifties. After some research, information given by people in the
circle and encouragement given by a person who started skydiving at
47, I decided to follow the PAC program in the summer of 2006. I told
myself that I would regret it if didn’t give it a try.

Unfortunately, I was unable to complete my training in 2006 for
various reasons: difficulties, lack of available time and whims of Mother
Nature. One Friday morning, my heart wasn’t really into skydiving.
While going to Nouvel Air, I made a stop to have coffee and think
about what was best for me. While looking at the paper, I read a quote
by Nicholas Macrozo who belongs to the world of Canadian athletics:
“Sornetimes, you have ta take a step back in order to take two forward.”
I had just found my answer. I was stopping everything for now. My
solution was to go to a vertical wind tunnel.

On three occasions I found myself in the New Hampshire wind
tunnel with amazing instructors from Nouvel Air (Martin and Vincent
Lemay and Mario Prévost). Results followed one progress after another.
This past 16th of July, Solo certified, I was flying on my own in
Farnham’s sky.
From the time I made the decision to go on a tandem up until my
Solo certification, my journey had faced obstacles. Fortunately, the main
difficulties were encountered during the winter. Before the tandem,
I had a crow’s-foot tendonitis, the following year, surgery on the big
toe, and to top it off, last winter, tendonitis in both shoulders, I didn ‘t
find that one funny… With perseverance and hard work, I was able to
get back into shape. What is marvelous is that my physical condition is
better than it ever was.

Skydiving for me is to be in a new dimension: feeling of freedom,
of space around oneself, feeling the control of my body on the air.
While being safe, it’s the search for new feats. To fly off into this bluish
dimension is pure pleasure.

Presently, my objective is to continue having fun while progressing.
Who knows, maybe the A license? Only the future will tell.
I am proud to be a new skydiver in her early fifties. It’s the
achievement of a dream and a big challenge. I just had to believe in it
and face the encountered obstacles and provide the necessary energies.
My motto: “The only challenges lost ahead of time are the ones not
taken up. There wouldn’t be anything worse than to resign to defeat
without finally having tempted to be victorious”.

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Been a while… Lots more blogs coming up :)

Hey everyone!

It’s been quite some time since my last post, I’m so sorry about the fact that we haven’t come up with much new content this past while.
I’ve had to take a year off from skydiving to sort of reassess where my life is as well as pay off some debts that I sorta just left lying around…

I’ve been staring at the skies waiting till my chance to get back up there.
I missed the 100 way Canadian record attempt that was done at Parachute Montreal. They didn’t manage to break the record due to weather issues, but they did 5 attempts and are planning to retry in 2012.

I’m finally going to get my fix, some friends and I are headed to this coming weekend. That’s right, February 4th and 5th, we’ll be jumping out of a sexy Cessna at 13500 feet in Frozen Canada.
I’m expecting it to be – 1 000 000 Degrees out, so I’ll be jumping in a mixture of both my skydive gear and my snowboard gear (Full face helmet, snowsuit, board socks, etc…) I’m pretty sure that my frost bite will have frost bite. I CAN’T WAIT!

I’ll have some pictures taken and post them up as soon as I can.
I promise you that I’ll be writing more as of now, if not about my jumps, about some random info I get about the sport.

On a side note: We at Skydive Addiction would like to wish a quick recovery to Jeb Corliss, for those of you who aren’t aware, he injured himself in a base jumping accident earlier this month.

Blue skies everyone!


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Skydive Varadero

So I just got back from Varadero Cuba…
Absolutely had to pop into the local DZ to check it out and hopefully to do a few jumps with the locals…
Turned out it’s a tandem factory, but they’re fairly welcoming to other skydivers. Weather didn’t permit us to jump on the day of my visit, so we played dominoes together…
(I snapped some photos, but haven’t developed them yet)

The DZ is actually owned by the government there, they fly a 20 seat soviet chopper (didn’t get to snap any photos of it though)
Depending on wind conditions, you either land on their badly maintained field or on the beach in front of your hotel.

Equipment-wise, they’ve got the standard canopies/containers (American brands, but bought through Europe).

The staff is extremely welcoming, but the facilities need work… There’s only about 15-20 skydivers that live in the area, the rest are all tandem tourists.
A jump ticket is 25 CUC (+ – 30$), they go up to 11000 feet.

Weather never ended up permitting me to jump, so my friends and I decided to rent some scooters and go to town on our 5th day. We got into an accident and I sprained my ankle… Karma of course came into play and the following days were perfect for skydiving… I sat next to the pool watching planes fly by.
Needless to say, that part sucked.

Hope you’re all having a very blue off season!

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A letter to skydiving – By Sydney Owen

Sydney, Ashley’s Life twin, and one of my recent new acquaintances wrote a letter to our beloved sport… I know exactly where she’s coming from, and I felt that this deserved a re-post… Check out her blog here

Dear Skydiving,

I’m going to tell you a little bit about me.

You know when you get to that place with something new in your life where you kinda shock yourself by how full-steam-ahead you’ve been approaching things? I’ve been there. A lot. It happened with rowing when I jacked up my hip flexor and was out for the rest of the season. It happened when I packed up my car to move to Chicago because, holy shit, this was actually happening. And it totally happened this weekend with us. I was sitting down at a picnic table and heard something about people going back to school. And then it hit me: um, hello August, nice to see you.

So after ground school in June, you took me by the hand and were all “hi Sydney, I’m your new life, let’s do this” and away we went. I haven’t really looked back since I started AFF. Cue my state of shock.

People are starting to talk about their plans for the winter. Which is totally exciting (for them) but makes me totally nervous about what’s going to happen in a couple months when season here wraps up. Nervous mostly because everything that every skydiver has said would happen once I decide that I’m straight up and down batshit crazy about this sport has happened. You’re addicting and I love pretty much everything about you. If it was actually possible, I’d just have my paycheck direct deposited into my account at the drop zone because that is where all of my money goes anyway. And, I’m okay with all of that. Every last bit of it.

But when we get back to the state of shock stuff, historically, in my little world, I’ve dealt with it in one of two ways.

One, I can keep going full steam ahead. In the instance of rowing, I didn’t have this option, my fate was decided for me. In the instance of skydiving, I can keep going. Keep jumping. Keep spending every waking minute between closing time on Friday and the morning drive on Monday at the drop zone, soaking it all in. Breathing in the culture, the people, the lifestyle, the group of people that have started to become my second family. I can keep going at the pace I have, try to turn off my brain about what happens in two months, and just LIVE. Continue to dive (ew, pun) head first into what is single-handedly the best thing to happen to me in a long time. Continue to fall in love with you, and do so with no reins, love this sport like I love anything that I really set my mind to, and figure out the rest when it happens.

Or, option two, I can start to reel it in. I hate this option. This turns into the battle of what my brain thinks is right vs. what my heart says is right. If I know that everything is going to shut down once the hangar closes for the winter, shouldn’t I start preparing myself for that? Shouldn’t I try to start weaning myself off of that lifestyle so it isn’t a complete and total shit show in my brain when I actually have to stay in Chicago on the weekends? Which, side note, I’m definitely not complaining about staying in Chicago, because it’s one of the greatest cities on the planet, but yeah, you know what I mean. The reeling it in option sucks because I’m cheating myself out of two months of awesome. The reeling it in option is usually the one I’ve gone with because I don’t want to deal with the aftermath.

So, skydiving, a couple questions. What do we do once things shut down? Do I chalk this up to the best summer ever and we’ll revisit when season rolls back around, rinse and repeat? Should I save money to plan winter skydiving trips so we can keep this thing alive? I’m new at this, fresh off of student status. What’s the procedure here?

hearts and sparkles,

Original post

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All this planning and I forget to bring my gloves

So in the end, we didn’t do a jump at 20 000 feet, the DZ wasn’t able to get the permits.
So we jumped from 18000.

Everyone on the plane had oxygen masks, we were 4 loads of 8-9 people.
On my load, a buddy who’s birthday it was who they added to our load to accommodate (He wasn’t supposed to be jumping today, they originally limited the day at 30 jumpers)
Most of the load were friends of mine I had met while skydiving, 3 of which were jumping with me.

At 12 000 feet, we were told to put on our oxygen masks, and from 12000 feet until 18000 things were normal… Aside from the cold.

It’s 25 degrees on the ground, I know it’s cold in the sky, yet for some reason…. I managed to not wear gloved… I actually don’t have skydive gloves in my colors, but I usually wear my snowboard gloves instead.

We did a 4way RW (Relative Work) jump. I was the tail, first to jump out while holding in an H position. Our bodies are placed like the letter H with our arms being the middle point. (In reality, it’s more of a domino shape with the top, middle and bottom line being our arms, but it’s called an H position)

We position ourselves, exit, it’s a little unstable and the person to my right ended up coming under us but we replaced ourselves and got good grips onto each other.
We then started doing our formations, or at least tried to…. After the 1st point, (everyone turned 90 degrees clockwise) things started to lose balance, so we basically played a game of tag in the air.

Landing was a bit rough, I jumped a Sabre II 170, loaded at 1.16, wind was very shaky today and lots of people got hurt on our run, I came close.
I was hoping to get a nice swoop in, but I flared about 2 feet too late and didn’t compensate by pulling faster and harder, as I started to swoop, my feet had touched the ground, but I was still coming down a little and my knees touched the ground, then the swoop picked up, lifted me onto my feet then stopped.
I got dirty, but didn’t hurt myself thankfully.
2 people on my load had hurt themselves on the run.

One person came in very close to some trees and got some wind burble due to that, he wasn’t able to keep control 100% and landed a bit hard, another person caught some turbulence and didn’t correct it, he was about 20 feet off the ground, in the end the right side of his parachute folded in and he landed rolling.

Some other people just landed in the middle of nowhere.
On the bright side, I landed exactly on target 😛

The wind picked up not long after the jump to 23 naughts (about 26 mph), so they grounded the planes by the 11th load of the day.
I decided to call it a day and head home to relax.
“You know you’re a skydiver when… You’re able to wake up at 5 am to go to the drop zone and skydive to be there for 7 am, but you have a hard time being up at 6:30 to go to work for 8.” 😀

Blue skies everyone

– Adam

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The hazards of skydiving:

So, as all of you know, skydiving is a sport with certain risks, people can get hurt, people can get scared, people can get sick…
Well, the other day at the DZ, one of the tandem students did just that, he puked all over his tandem master’s leg…
Poor guy’s jump suit went from black to orange….
Now, to make matters worse, the next day, THE VERY SAME tandem master was up with a student who started puking… and guess what…

He avoided it hahaha

Seriously speaking though, one of the tandem students didn’t listen to his tandem master for the landing (You’re supposed to lift up your legs, and the instructor tells you to several times if you don’t)
Well, the guy didn’t listen, and broke his lower leg… Note to all of you future skydivers: LISTEN TO YOUR INSTRUCTOR!!!!!!!!!!

That is all.


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Mike’s Facebook status…

Earlier, I read mike’s status to say: “so it’s official, I enjoy falling.”

All I have to say to this is:

I don’t enjoy falling… I’m addicted to it… In my dreams, I’m falling, in my nightmares, I’m falling, in my DAY dreams I’m falling… I look outside and I simply want to fall… Soon enough I’m gonna make a living off falling, then I know for sure that I have a problem 😛

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Aggravating day!

So all in all, we ended up being 2 regular jumpers and 19 tandems.
Load 1 got off the ground without a hitch, well apart from a PFF student having a botched landing and face planting and a tandem with a heavier girl landing rolling into the parachute… We had a good laugh :-).

The twin otter stopped to gas up for load 2 which I was on with a buddy.
Jump went impeccably.
Load 3 also went without any problems…

Load 4 however… Never got off the ground, leaving 6 of the tandems I had brought hanging around waiting for their turn…
Turns out that the registration fees for the NAFTA weren’t paid… Or so Transport Canada’s inspectors claimed.
So we waited for 2 hours, and still nothing… By hour 3, the owner of the DZ announced that people could either take the risk and keep waiting, or go come and come back another day.

Needless to say, I decided to go home after having done only one jump, the same goes for one of the other tandem jumpers (who’s also my co-worker)… The others waited and ended up getting onto a load after 6 hours of waiting…
At this point, I’m obviously frustrated, as it was a PERFECT day for skydiving… and By perfect I mean: Not a cloud in the sky, 30 degrees celcius outside… a Perfect, sunny day. Which is something that VERY VERY rarely happens here… Especially in the month of May.

The tandems who got to jump were obviously extatic with the experience, two or three claimed that they want to take lessons… We’ll see where that leads… I know Mike’s in for the long haul, that’s for sure.

By the way: If any of you want to write for our blog, feel free to send us a note, we’re always happy to hear other divers’ stories and of course publish them 😉

– Adam