Here in the Northern Hemisphere, many drop zones are getting ready to end the skydiving season. In many countries, October is the end of the skydiving season, and it begins to get too cold and unpredictable to jump. Although there are many drop zones that do not close, many skydiving centres are beginning to prepare for the end of season. Skydivers are hoping for a few more weekends of good weather, so they can get their jumps in before the season closes. As the end of season approaches for many of us, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips how to close off a skydiving season in true skydiver fashion.
Clean out locker and gear bag
So with the end of the skydiving season approaching, its a good idea to consider cleaning out your locker at the drop zone as well as your gear bag! Who knows what you might find while cleaning. Maybe some extra money or hidden jump tickets, probably some stinky laundry and likely a rogue GoPro charger. Be sure to actually take the time to clean out your locker and gear bag because if you wait and you might discover some stinky socks in a few months time. Not to mention, when everyone returns to the drop zone next season, they don’t want to smell your old banana’s rotting in your locker!
Cleaning out your gear bag and locker might also remind you of things you need to do. Perhaps you needed to replace some batteries in that altimeter sitting in the bottom of your bag. Or you needed to mend your suit you’ve been forgetting about. Not to mention your gear bag might be full of dirty food containers that your wife has been complaining about all summer. Time to empty them from your gear bag before they become a science project.
Oh yes, the season closer party. The last skydiving bash before the winter weather arrives. And maybe the last time you see many of your skydiving friends until the following season. The year end party is always a lot of fun celebrating another great season of skydiving. Be sure to participate in the party to show your drop zone and skydive friends some appreciation.
Year end parties can get pretty creative, so don’t hesitate to help with the planning. Its always fun to host a year end video for everyone to watch, and laugh and cheer on all the epic moments of the season. Create some fun games, hire a DJ and bring along some drinks and food to enjoy together. Going to the drop zone is always like a weekend getaway from regular life, so its important to celebrate this last weekend together for a while.
Although this is the season end party, it doesn’t mean it needs to be the last time you see your skydiving community. Maybe take some time to create a sign up for a mid-winter get together. Find out some dates and locations that will work for most people and plan another meet up. Or even better, plan some tunnel huck jams!
Plan a skydiving winter trip!
Now is the perfect time to start thinking about your winter getaway skydiving trip! If you start planning now, your withdrawals will not become too extreme, because you will already have a skydiving trip to look forward too! Its a great excuse to plan a trip to somewhere with warmer weather, and escape the winter cold. Not only is it a great escape, but its also a good idea to stay current. Many DZ’s close from October to April, so that is a lot of time not jumping. By taking a skydiving winter trip, you are able to stay a bit more current over the winter. Which it is always a good idea to be staying a current skydiver.
There are usually a lot of super cool places to travel over the winter months. In the USA, there are many drop zones in the southern states that stay open all year. They have great weather year round for jumping. Many of the drop zones in the warmer locations host Christmas or New Years events, to attract skydivers from all over to come and enjoy the sunshine. Skydivers from Canada and the Northern states in USA, travel to Florida or Arizona each winter to attend boogies and skill camps that take place over the off-season.
Christmas and New Years boogies are always amazing events to attend. My favourite is the Puerto Escondido Beach Boogie over Christmas and New Years in southern Mexico. Its the best combination of beach vacation and skydiving trip. Its a good idea to start planning for these events ahead of time. And so the end of the season is a perfect time to start planning your trip. Boogie registration can often be cheaper if purchased “early bird”.
As well, in the times of COVID, its important to remember travel has changed. There are less air plane connections, prices are higher and there are more rules in place. Prepare ahead of time by ensuring you get the cheapest possible rates on flights and accommodations. And of course check ahead of time that you meet the COVID travel requirements. Check out our article on how to travel with your gear, if you need more tips!
Plan your tunnel flying
The winter season is the best time to focus on your tunnel flying progression. Since we can no longer skydive in the summer weather, it is time to move indoors. During the end of the skydiving season, you should begin to make a plan and set some goals for your tunnel flying this winter. By creating goals and setting a plan into action with your tunnel coach, you are setting yourself on the best path for progress. Setting goals will keep you motivated and on track in your flying path.
By planning out your tunnel flying for the winter, you can book with your coaches as early as possible to secure your time with them. If you are living close to a tunnel, this might be easier, because you have more freedom with when you can go to the tunnel. However, some people must travel to get to a wind tunnel. So this is important to contact your coaches ahead of time, to be sure to fit into their busy winter schedule.
Winter tunnel flying is great for progression in your body flight skills. And it helps with stopping skydiving cold turkey. Sure you will miss skydiving, but at least you are motivated and progressing still with your body flying. By organizing yourself tunnel time weekly, or bi-weekly, you still get your flying fix. Or if you need to travel, join a camp or organize a tunnel camp yourself. You can make traveling cheaper by splitting accommodations with another skydiver!
Store your gear properly
Maybe it is your first season as a skydiver, and you haven’t thought to much about this. Or you just generally toss your gear into your closet and don’t think about it again until next spring. Either way, this year with the season ending, you should give some thought to proper storage of all your gear.
Although there are some differences between how some skydivers store their gear. We suggest to leave the reserve in the container packed. However you can open your main and store it in a rubber bin with your container. Also to pull your pilot chute from your BOC, so that the elastic fabric lasts longer. It is a good idea to store it all somewhere that maintains a room temperature. And be mindful to not store gear somewhere humid, which can potentially increase your chances of developing mold on your gear. Which is obviously not something we would ever want. Keep your gear away from your house pets, as you don’t want accidental damage to your gear by your fur friends. Some people like to hang their gear up in their homes, but be mindful you are not heavily smoking around your gear.
Don’t forget that your electronics like altimeter and dytter should be properly stored in a dry and not humid environment. And all of your gear should be stored off of the ground, in a higher location, in case of flooding. It is much better to be safe than sorry. Even if things are likely to not happen, I think its better to think of all the possibilities and try to avoid any potentially damaging situations.
Keep coming back
Although the skydiving season ending is sad for us all, it doesn’t need to be so depressing. As you have seen there are some exciting things you can do over the winter season. Like booking a skydiving vacation or spending more time in the tunnel. Or just saving money to be able to jump as much as possible next summer. We hope that you enjoy the last jumps of this season, and finish off with an amazing year-end party!
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