Base Jumping and Other OMG Snow Sports

These sports are better viewed rather than described because, especially here, pictures remain worth a thousand words. Nevertheless, here are some words on the subject with links to videos to give you the visual.

Base Jumping

Basically, Base or BASE Jumping follows Base Climbing, meaning you get near or at the top of a mountain or some equally daunting precipice and jump or skydive to the bottom, the parachute opening at the last minute. According to a video on YouTube, the tallest Base Jump was 1700 metres or 5,577.43 feet from the East Face of Meru Peak in the Himalayas of India, 6,660 metres high or 21,667 feet. Reaching that elevation would involve mountaineering skills and snow. Skydiving alone demands an insatiable appetite for the adrenaline rush that comes with danger, but add maneuvering sheer and jagged faces of rock on the way down and the danger quotient rises dramatically. Not for the feint of heart.

A variation on Base Jumping is doing so in a wing suit as one skydiver did in Baffin Island that you can watch on another YouTube video.

You may run into the term “hucking” which apparently means jumping or dropping off something and applies to various sports. Yes, there is a video of hucking on YouTube, again in Baffin Island.

Free Flying

Free flying is also a skydiving variation that involves various body positions during the fall to the ground (snow or no snow is likely irrelevant). In the boxman position, which is belly to earth, the acceleration can be 120 miles or 193 kilometres per hour or in other positions such as feet first, up to 170 miles or 270 kilometers per hour. OMG. Wise Geek reports that one free flyer reached 614 miles or 988 kilometres per hour.

Helicopter Snowboarding

Onto another growing favorite, this time for snowboarders, called Helicopter Snowboarding. The idea is to have a helicopter drop you and other (only the very experienced) snowboarders off on an undeveloped ” clean slope perfect for shredding” as explained on Snowboard-Mountain. Going down an unspoiled mountain is of course fraught with danger: unknown terrain and the possibility of being followed by a “freight train of snow” as one snowboarder called an avalanche. This extreme sport is available in some Northwestern states and in Canada. You can see a video of Helicopter Snowboarding on YouTube .

Gear

Not only are these sports super dangerous and require extensive training, the gear is also super expensive. For instance, a Base Jumping parachute can run up to $1500. So, in addition to “think before you leap,” better calculate the cost in cash upfront.

Sources:

Ed Grabianowski, How BASE Jumping Works, http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/urban-sports/base-jumping1.htmhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCIqogMsySs&NR=1

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-freeflying.htm

http://www.snowboard-mountain.com/Articles_2009/helicopter_snowboarding.html. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRYc-1HDohI