Indoor Skydiving—Our Family Bucket List Activity
I had a fleeting thought, “What if doing all of these fun activities is ‘spoiling’ my children for when they grow up,” and instantly dismissed it.
Nothing in this life is guaranteed so let’s do the most we can whenever we can.
“We’re never going to go skydiving! You promised we would months ago!”
My son was right. I had promised them months ago, six months ago, in fact, that we would all go indoor skydiving.
But house repairs, car repairs, and dog surgeries ate into our disposable income budget and indoor skydiving took a necessary backseat.
Life often dictates that we do the boring-but-necessary things first while the fun-and-expensive activities get pushed off to the side.
We kept doing that for months and months until we realize that that was all we were doing. Six months flew by in a flurry and the really exciting Christmas present remained unredeemed.
“Alright. I’m booking it right now,” I said and pulled out my phone and punched in my credit card numbers.
A bucket list addition
I’ve been editing the website Slow Travel Stockholm for a few months now and recently did a round-up post on Bucket List Adventures in Stockholm.
Indoor skydiving by BodyFlight looked like a lot of fun so I added that to my family’s personal bucket list.
Jon and I have been real skydiving in our more reckless pre-parenting youth, so I thought I knew what we were getting ourselves into.
Indoor skydiving and skydiving have very little in common aside from the fact that you shape your body like a banana and you wear a skintight jumpsuit and other protective gear.
Indoor skydiving is like wind surfing in a tube with walls and plane skydiving is like plummeting to your death.
Both experiences are loud and exhilarating but very little can compare to voluntarily throwing yourself out of a perfectly good airplane.
Indoor skydiving was the perfect activity for our family, more accessible, and more affordable than jumping out of an airplane.
Indoor skydiving requires balance
When you step into the indoor skydiving tunnel, you are stepping into a wind tunnel that’s whipping air around you at around 195 km/h (120 mph or 55 m/s).
You fall into the wind tunnel and fortunately, there is an instructor there to keep you from bouncing into the walls. It’s incredible to learn that by slowly modifying your arms or legs, you can zoom up, down, and all around.
Our kids (ages 5 and 8) had a bit more trouble than the adults simply because the body control is really hard.
The wind tunnel is really loud so you can’t hear any instructions and have to rely on hand signals from the instructor.
Also, if you smile and a bit of spittle comes out of your mouth, it’ll hit you again going 195 kph, which kind of hurts like a bee sting. Not that I have experience with that or anything…
Feel free to watch a bit of our experience below. The kids went “swimming” in the air while the adults did their best to not bump into the walls.
We watched a brief six-minute safety and training video and our instructor explained everything to us including the hand signals and what to expect.
We asked them to provide our training in English, which they gladly provided, and he switched back and forth between English and Swedish to make sure everyone understood what was happening.
After the briefing, we all headed down to get suited up and put on flight suits that left very little to the imagination, ear plugs, goggles, and helmets.
I removed ALL of my jewelry including my necklace and rings just in case. They provided a locker upstairs for all of our valuables.
Don’t worry about not being able to take pictures. They have a professional camera there that snaps great moments and a video camera that captures all 60-seconds of your wind tunnel surfing.
Two Minutes in a Wind Tunnel
One might not think that 60-seconds is “enough” time in a wind tunnel but it feels a lot longer when you’re in there.
The experts make it look easy but it’s ridiculously hard to balance your body without slamming into the walls or floating down to the ground.
The first 60-seconds was instructional and a chance to let you feel what it was like to balance on the wind.
The second 60-seconds is to take a few pro pics and then to fly up with the instructor.
My favorite part was when the instructor grabbed me, the wind speed ramped up, and I could relax and let him control the experience.
He was an expert at making us fly up and down and the result was exhilarating.
I may have screamed a bit but nobody could hear me, so it was ok.
We all loved it.
Our daughter (age 5), was the first one in the tunnel and she had a blast. Our son got to wear a Batman flight suit and loved every second playing the super hero.
What we didn’t expect was what happened after the indoor skydiving was over.
Our daughter had a newfound streak of confidence.
As soon as we got home, she hopped on her bike and raced off down the hill—the same hill she had been too scared to bike down because it required constant braking.
We had dinner at a friend’s house and she was climbing all over the swing set, hanging upside down, and jumping from great heights.
Overcoming the fear of indoor skydiving dislodged whatever was blocking her from trying new things.
She learned that she could try things that she thought were scary and survive. In fact, the scary things were kind of fun.
That discovery in itself was worth the trip.
Find an indoor skydiving place near you
Sweden—Stockholm and Göteborg—BodyFlight
France—Paris, Lyon, and Marseille—iFLY
England—Baskingstoke, Milton Keynes, Manchester—iFLY
United States—iFLY has locations all over the country