Friday, July 12, 2013

Jumpers flock to Orofino skydiving event

By Dennis Gray of ChangePoint

This weekend’s Sober Skydive, July 6-7, sponsored by ChangePoint, was a huge success. People from Orofino and surrounding communities came to jump or to enjoy watching the skydiving event. SkyDown Skydiving out of Caldwell provided the jumps. Skydivers leaped out of the planes at 10,000 feet and landed at the Orofino Municipal Airport. Jumpers were from Orofino, Kamiah, Kooskia, Grangeville, Cottonwood, Lewiston, Clarkston, and Peck. Sober Skydive was started to help promote sobriety and to encourage recovery for those who want to change their lives.

The skydivers tried to describe the joy of free-falling at 120 miles per hour, followed by the parachute opening and slowing to brisk glide through the most beautiful landscape a person could view in their lifetime. A nearly universal comment from the skydivers was simply that the thrilling experience was so wonderful it was virtually indescribable.

Of the 35 people who jumped (mostly novice skydivers), they took their first big leap right here in Orofino. A few would-be-spectators could not take just watching and signed up themselves. Some had not flown on a plane before so the experience was even more exhilarating.

Other parachuters were experienced. Several began jumping at the first Sober Skydive a few years ago. Ages of the jumpers ranged from 16-year-olds to people well into their 70’s.

Most of the tandem jumps were friends or family members jumping in pairs. One of the old-timers who had jumped several times in the past took his grandson for this life-changing experience. Moms jumping with their sons and dads jumping with their teenage daughters described their experience as a gift of a lifetime.

The expert pilots and skydiving instructors from SkyDown Skydiving helped new jumpers to reduce the fear, relax, and feel confident in order to better enjoy the experience. These highly skilled instructors had logged from over 4,000 to more 14,000 jumps.

Veronica Miracle, KLEW TV reporter, straps up for her first parachute jump at Orofino Airport on July 6. SkyDown Skydiving of Caldwell provided the jumps. Photo by Charlie Pottenger

 Veronica Miracle is pictured landing after her parachute jump with SkyDown Skydiving July 6 at Orofino Airport. Photo by Charlie Pottenger

Lucas Walker of Lewiston was among several individuals who participated in a parachute jump at Orofino Airport July 6-7, courtesy of SkyDown Skydiving, a sport parachute jumping organization out of Caldwell. Upon landing, Lucas declared, "I definitely am doing that again!" Photo by Charlie Pottenger
Jessi Noah of Orofino is all harnessed for a skydive at Orofino Airport July 6, courtesy of SkyDown Skydiving of Caldwell. Photo by Charlie Pottenger

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