Recently, our 20 year old had a her first tandem Skydive experience in Interlaken Switzerland. Her instructor "Danger Tom" has a delightful personality. She opted for the handcam/wrist video and photo package which allowed us to view this awesome experience with a view of the Alps from 13,000 ft. I recommend booking directly with them (Skydive Switzerland) at http://www.skydiveswitzerland.ch/en.
This is suitable for kids? Thank you!
The youngest they accept is 16 per their web page: Requirements: Max. weight of 105 kg, min. age of 18 years or 16 years with parental consent.
People, people, people...doing something like this in Europe is not smart. Here's why:
Any sort of activity that involves going up in an airplane, a balloon, etc. always costs a LOT more in Europe than the same experience would cost you in North America. If it involves an airplane, the USA is by far the least expensive place in the world to do anything - by far.
If you want to jump out of a plane (and there's nothing wrong with that), the experience is going to be essentially the same whether you do that in Provence or Peoria. The view will be essentially the same - from 12,000 feet (typical jump altitude) the countryside of Italy looks pretty much the same as the countryside of New Jersey (I'm a pilot, I can vouch for this), except perhaps for the last 5 seconds (when the ground comes rushing up at you quickly). I suppose one could argue that your last few seconds aloft over Tuscany might be slightly prettier than over Toledo, but honestly, most people really won't notice any difference at all because they will be concentrating on the experience of, you know, falling from a plane, and if they're particularly keen on watching what's below, they will be seeing the small patch of grass they are about to plop down on (usually that patch of grass is a spot next to the runway at the little airport you took off from, and patches of grass next to runways at little airports look pretty much the same worldwide).
So, for the same experience, you pay a LOT more in Europe. A lot. You can go skydiving pretty much anywhere in the US/Canada for a lot less.
Also, when you're on a trip to Europe, besides money, your most precious resource is time. You are someplace with the world's greatest museums, churches, art, food, etc., amazing history and scenery that looks great from the ground. You probably have just a relative handful to days to spend there. Spending most or all of a day skydiving seems like a poor choice to me.
Personally, I love anything that involves getting up in the air in a small plane - for me, that's great fun. But I wouldn't waste a day of my European trip on that since the actual experience is no better in Europe than it is at home, plus is substantially more expensive there. (Note: as a pilot, I do agree that aerial "flight-seeing" from a small plane can be spectacular and may be worth it, but it's stunningly expensive outside the USA and unlike skydiving - which can be measured in seconds - flight-seeing from above lasts long enough to enjoy, converse about and savor).
You wanna go skydiving? Great, go do it - at the little airport just 30 minutes from your house (probably for half what it would cost you in Europe). And spend that day/half-day that you would have spent skydiving to do something that's better there in Europe. Use your time in Europe for the things that you can only do, or are better when done, there in Europe.
You want a great cathedral and stained glass windows? Chartes is the place. Skydiving? It'll be just as good in Chattanooga.
Hope that helps.
You are 100% correct, my father had his instrumentation license in the 1960s and I flew with him since the age of 6. The cost of tandem skydive in the midwest is cheaper than California or Europe. My daughter has been asking me for years to do a tandem skydive. She is living in Europe so that is why she went skydiving in Interlaken. So for ex-pats or those that are staying in Europe for more than a couple weeks this company provided an awesome experience. And I assure you she has been to many churches, palaces, museums, beaches, and tasted every delightful food throughout Europe. My family is from Switzerland and I lived there in my 20s so the motherland was chosen for her first jump.
I didn't see much suggestion that marakenney's daughter did any skydiving in Tuscany. Sounded more like the Berner Oberland to me, and I bet that it does look different flying down to mountain tops and then landing in the valley.
What an incredibly judgemental and negative post the previous one is.
I thought we'd just had a number of posts talking about how to not criticize everything. Shame that David didn't see it.
Congratulations to Mara's daughter.
Yes Nigel, when I lived in Switzerland the first time I flew from Zurich to Rome, I teared up, the view of the Alps is like no other. And when I saw my daughter's excellent, and safe video (I researched the regulations) of her jump it brought memories of those mountains I skied in my 20s.
Some folks enjoy spending their holiday inside of museums and churches. Others prefer outdoors adventures. While the outdoor experience may be cheaper in North America, the outdoor Swiss experience may be harder to replicate in the States. And after a few trips one stained glass window starts looking like another. I say to each his or her own.
That said, an alternative to viewing and experiencing the Swiss landscape while free falling is paragliding. At my age, both are not on my agenda. But having viewed paragliding episodes on adventure shows I can certainly appreciate the opportunity for an unique viewing of the Swiss scenery.
BTW You may want to check you medivac insurance coverage for activity exceptions.
Edgar, first thing we did was purchase that type of insurance prior to her extended stay in Europe. She has spent her time on weekends from churches to surfing in Porto, to ziplining in Toledo (Spain), to Octoberfest, to tossing a coin in the Trevi fountain...I raised her to appreciate all aspects of life during our time on earth. The most dangerous activity was probably Octoberfest...lol !
So much misunderstanding above....sigh.
First: Hey, it's your trip, do what you want.
Second: OP never mentioned in her post that her 20-year-old was living in Europe or there on a very extended stay there. That makes all the difference. I look at "days in Europe" as the most constrained commodity for most of us (you can always spend more money than you had planned - that's easy! - you generally can't stay longer than you planned). I believe that's generally true. Perhaps not in this case (now clarified).
Third: If you think that the experience of skydiving in anyplace in Europe (including Interlaken) is much different from skydiving in, say, Iowa, you don't know much about what it's like to jump from a small airplane. The experience is about falling through the air from a great height, not the scenery below (except for the last few seconds, see my post above). The single greatest difference will be cost.
Finally: I see folks posting here all the time asking about stuff like this. I think they are well-intentioned but naive and/or ignorant about relative costs/benefits. I have some experience with airplanes and related activities. IMHO, spending the extra money to do these things in Europe is simply a poor use of your limited resources - unless you have plenty of extra money and/or plenty of extra time in Europe. For most folks, I think it's much smarter to do your skydiving at home, and spend the time/money better on your trip to Europe. If you disagree, great, its your trip. Just trying to help folks understand that within 20 minutes of their home, they could have the same (or better) experience for half the price, and free up a day in Europe for something else they would otherwise miss and can't do at home. I think most folks don't get that.
Vive la difference and bon chance.
Gotta agree with David about spending limited days in Europe on things that are similar to (or essentially the same as) what you could do at home. That's my gut response when I hear about someone planning a day or days going to Paris Disneyland. A chacun son gout.
otta agree with David about spending limited days in Europe on things
that are similar to (or essentially the same as) what you could do at
Using that logic nobody should be visiting Europe at all:) North America also has world class art museums, cathedrals, beaches, battlefields, archeological sites, culinary delights, and mountain ranges etc. etc. etc.
: ) To each their own. I have skied several areas in California, Arizona, Colorado, British Columbia, Idaho and Wyoming...the only state which comes close to the splendor of the Alps with their majestic Tetons (in my opinion). I skied all over Switzerland (Zermatt my favorite), Innsbruck in Austria, Garmish in Germany, Chamonix area in France. I have never found any city in North America which compares to Rome and Venice. However the good ole USA has the best beaches and I have been to Tahiti and many other islands. But that's my current preference. Still have to travel to Thailand and Australia to give my final beach verdict. : ) I took a Tourism class in grad school, regarding how tourism affects the culture of the host nation. I am glad I explored before the world became very Americanized. I love learning a new language, figuring out the money, seeing different architecture, and the diversification. I live near the Amish and even some groups in those communities have modernized with big screen TVs and they no longer drive the buggy.
I used Paragliding Jungfrau to do a tandem jump from Murren into the Laterbrunnen valley. It was awesome. Highly recommend it. The pilot took videos and photos during the jump.
ETA: We did not crash.
We actually spent a day to bring our 5 year old son to Disney Paris. We've been to Paris before and don't care much for it. It worked because we had extra time at the end of our France trip. The best part is, we don't have to go to the US for a Disney experience. We try and avoid America as much as possible. Too much hate, violence and ignorance for us.
To the OP. Sounds like a great experience. Paragliding in Annecy was fantastic.
We try and avoid America as much as possible. Too much hate, violence
and ignorance for us.
I wish I could dispute that statement.
Too much hate, violence and ignorance....
Also more alligators in Florida than in Paris.
But back to North American activities vs European activities. One premise is not participating in adventure activities in Europe because they are cheaper in North America. The fallacy of the "do it in North America" argument is that the location, setting and people in Europe are the same or equivalent to that of North America. Having Nordic skied, walked/trekked, and biked in both Europe and North America, I can attest to the European ambiance and culture of active travel is different. I may use the same skis (which were made in Europe) and same walking boots in both Europe and North America, but the travel environment is different.
And we travel to enjoy that difference and appreciate the interaction with local enthusiast. To each his/her own.
"If you want to jump out of a plane (and there's nothing wrong with that), the experience is going to be essentially the same whether you do that in Provence or Peoria."
While that's true, I find that it's sometimes a real treat to do something unusual like that on holidays as it provides a "special" memory of the trip in a location I may never be able to return to. For me, the cost isn't a factor as it's just part of the holiday budget. I could easily skydive here, as we have a skydiving school but jumping over semi-desert landscape just wouldn't be the same as the same experience in the Swiss Alps. I did try Paragliding in Mürren a few years ago, and I don't regret doing that for a minute!
One cautionary point for anyone considering this. Be sure to check the "fine print" on your travel medical insurance, as your medical care may not be covered if you did sustain an injury while engaging in "hazardous sports". Here's a "worst case scenario" example of that - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/kenzie-markey-injured-skydiving-in-arizona-comes-home-to-b-c-1.2618465 .
I am curious: what is the cost of a tandem skydive in the US versus in Switzerland?
I checked a couple places in the following locations: Switzerland $US 397-to $450, California $299, Ohio $199, New Jersey $215. But many things are expensive in Switzerland. I remember when I lived in Switzerland many years ago, my friends would go to France to purchase products because it was less expensive.