Students relieve semester stress through skydiving

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    By Lani Dame

    The end of the semester is a time to relax and relieve stress, so go skydiving.

    A group of BYU students will be traveling to Skydive Ranch in Calgary, Canada to jump from up to 11,000 feet.

    “Everyone wants an end of the semester road trip and what better way to do it than to go skydiving,” said Jana Pope, 20, junior from Austin, Texas, majoring in international studies.

    Pope and Leszek Stachyra, 32, junior from Poland majoring in geographic information systems, went skydiving together last year at Skydive Ranch and enjoyed the experience so much they invited friends to go this semester.

    Since many people had an interest in attending, Pope and Stachyra decided it would be safer to charter a bus than to have multiple cars driving, Pope said.

    “We didn”t really plan on doing the bus with so many people,” Stachyra said. “We just wanted to go with a small group of friends but it just grew into such a big interest that the only way to make it safe and organized was to get a bus.”

    This is the biggest privately organized group to go to Skydive ranch, Stachyra said.

    Because of the great response from people, two trips have been organized. One trip is from April 25-28 and the second from April 28-May 1. While the first bus is full, the second still has a few spots left, Pope said.

    Skydiving has gotten such a great response because it is an uncommon and fun activity.

    “It”s something different to do,” said Shaylona Kirk, 19, sophomore from Chandler, Ariz. majoring in zoology. “It”s something to look forward to. I”m going to school during spring so it”s like my summer vacation all in three days.”

    Shawn South, a BYU graduate, said his first time skydiving was phenomenal and he cannot wait to go again since it is not something people do every weekend.

    The adrenaline rush also draws people to skydiving.

    “You just climb out on the wing of an airplane and you”re holding onto the wing strut and you feel like some James Bond stunt double,” Pope said.

    While some may have fears of skydiving, Stachyra said once a person tries skydiving they realize how safe it is.

    Before their first jump, students are trained for about six hours. All equipment is thoroughly checked by employees, Stachyra said.

    Going to Canada and skydiving is not as costly as some would believe.

    Pope said since they know the owner of the ranch the group has received a special group rate and the ranch, usually only open on Saturday and Sunday, will be open for them.

    “A lot of them have always wanted to do something like this, but because of prices here on the market they”ve hesitated,” Stachyra said. “But with us they get an awesome road trip hanging out with LDS kids and skydiving.”

    Pope said if the first timers are anything like her and Stachyra, they will be hooked and continue skydiving.

    Stachyra and Pope plan on going on additional trips after each semester.

    “Whenever there”s good weather and we have a break we”d like to try and do it,” Pope said.

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