Where to go skydiving?

two people skydivingVeronica emails:

My birthday is coming up at the end of the month and what better way to celebrate than to skydive on my birthday?! Know of any good places around here that offer skydiving at a reasonable price?

Know of a good place for Veronica to take the leap? Please share!

photo: Flickr user flawedartist

Comments

I've been twice, to two different places. The first time we went to Saratoga Skydive Adventures (http://www.skydivesaratoga.com/) and I would strongly discourage anyone from going there. We had a group of six and were there for six hours, it was a very long day. They also had tried to cancel on us several times for various reasons, one being "the weather" even though it was gorgeous that day. They were very poorly organized (it's kind of amazing that I ended up jumping out of a plane with them) and also double charged a couple of my friends, and claimed I hadn't given a deposit until I pulled up my bank records on my phone.

^I believe the Duanesburg company is affiliated with this one, so I wouldn't go there either.

My second experience was at Skydive the Ranch (http://www.skydivetheranch.com/) which was AMAZING! First, it was cheaper (I want to say $199 for the skydive itself) and second, they were much more organized and pleasant. While this company is in New Paltz and more of a drive out of the Capital Region, I would highly recommend it. We also paid for the photo and video service there, which was well worth it. I always recommend Skydive the Ranch!

An acquaintance is currently skydiving her way through the 50 states. Last weekend she jumped at Skydive New England and Bosotn Skydiving Center in RI.

http://temptphate01.tumblr.com/

I second going to The Ranch. It is located outside of New Paltz in Gardiner, NY. I had a great experience there (although that was almost six years ago!) . I also got the video and it was really well done/edited.

You can make a day trip and visit New Paltz and/or Rosendale.

Are those tandem jumps a requirement for first timers? There's something about making the trip with a dude strapped to your back that's vaguely troubling...

I went to Saratoga skydive, on a groupon. They were professional, enthusiastic, and courteous. However, we upgraded to a video and photos and were not impressed. For one, it's not worth the added cost and for second when asked what song I wanted for the video, I asked for jump, by van haley (lame and predictable, but I was unprepared to be asked) when I got the video the songs they used were "let's get retarded" by black-eyed-peas and a nickelback song (as of I know the name). To get that detail wrong, for the price I paid? FAIL.

If you want to do it, go. But a cautionary tale...for a college graduation gift, my brother took me skydiving at The Ranch. Everyone there was very nice...and promptly called an ambulance to bring my brother to the hospital after the landing smashed his leg. When I walked up to him (because he wasn't getting up) his foot was pointing in a direction that feet can't go in. The injury required surgery, several months with an external fixator and then time in a molded air cast. When you are signing your life away and initialing 15 pages, you are doing it for a reason.

This case is certainly not the norm, but variations of it happen often enough because everyone in the ER at St. Francis Hospital knew about The Ranch.

The ranch is pretty good. Very fun crowd of folks and very well-organized in my opinion. The ranch was my first experience of civilian jumping and I had a lot of fun. Free fall at 13,500 is a blast!!! There is just nothing like it. Think of the fastest, best ski run you've ever done and multiply by about 1,000.

Tandem jump is required for the first jump and, if I recall correctly, about 20 more until you qualify for solo jumps. I am a bit of a safety nut so I was pleased to see the instructors packing their own parachutes in full public view. They will answer any question you have. All the ones I talked to had something like 1,000 jumps logged.

The aircraft are very small twin-engine jobs seating about 15-18 jumpers. It is a lot of fun to watch the view and feel them claw their way to altitude. But that's if you love to fly in small aircraft (I do). If not, it may not be for you. It's not like an airliner.

If you are at all prone to motion sickness tell your jump partner before you enplane. Making sharp, fast turns with a square-canopy parachute will make you vomit in a hurry and kinda spoil the whole experience ;) But if you take it easy on the turns you will be fine.

If you get to stand in the open door for a while, waiting for a turn to jump, that's a whole extra thrill.

I did this with my oldest sons. It was the first jump for all three of them. They loved it, and talk about bonding! They had the biggest smiles I've ever seen and all wanted to grab the next plane and do it again.

Finally, stop by Capital Q smokehouse in Albany and talk to the owner, Sean. He organizes trips to the ranch and I bet he'd be happy to tell you about it. Plus he makes great food.

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