Travel brochures tout tourist-oriented destinations that commonly offer plenty of things to do. Any given place on the planet might have historic significance, a natural wonder of some sort or man-made things to see and do that draw visitors from around the world. The state of Colorado is no exception.
Racks of colorful travel brochures with a variety of attractions can be found in hotels, airports, restaurants and most public places. Stopping a couple days in the Denver area recently, we found some travel brochures that jumped off the rack saying, “take me.” Surely, that’s what they are designed to do; catch our attention over a hundred other brochures competing for our limited time in town.
It’s interesting though, how just one of those brochures can open up an entirely different experience; in this case, one that literally fell out of the sky.
Indoor Skydiving at SkyVenture Colorado in Denver simulates the free-fall part of a sky dive, the time between jumping out of a plane until the parachute is opened – what is commonly referred to as “flying.”
The SkyVenture wind tunnel facility does it so well, that avid and pro skydivers go there to practice what they might do during free fall, in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
Jumping out of a plane, skydivers get about 50 to 60 seconds until they need to deploy their parachute (called a “canopy”). To practice a routine or formation, many of these “drops” are needed and without a wind tunnel that means landing, repacking their parachute, getting back in a plane, taking off and jumping out all over again.
They don’t mind that; in fact, they pretty much live for it. But the Sky Venture wind tunnel allows skydivers to practice efficiently, often with other knowledgeable skydivers looking on, providing helpful tips and feedback.
We were there for something else though.
It was an event that was something new at SkyVenture Colorado, a wind tunnel wedding, believed to be the first-ever. The ceremony, officiated by Native American Douglas Spotted Eagle, joined my daughter Sydney to my new son-in-law Barry.
Both experienced skydivers from different backgrounds, their paths crossed via skydiving.
Sydney Owen, a recent USF graduate, was climbing the corporate ladder at rapid speeds on a path to epic success when skydiving entered the picture. To feed her passion for the sport, she left the corporate world behind and started her own millennial-focused PR firm. Based at Southern California’s Skydive Elsinore, Sydney has jumped out of a perfectly good airplane 300+ times.
Barry Williams, the Director of Elsinore Elevate Advanced Bodyflight at Skydive Elsinore with an extensive pedigree (AFF-I, USPA C/E, FAA Sr. Rigger, for readers in the know), has over 6000 jumps.
Frankly, having anything to do with “Pro Skydiving” was not on my original top-ten list of “Wishes For Our Children.”
But “Be Happy,” “Impact Those Around You” and “Find Someone To Share Your Life With” were probably in the top three and skydiving managed to make hitting all of them possible. Pictured here, their “first dance” after the ceremony.
The SkyVenture Colorado brochure lists a number of services they render, but “life changing event” is not mentioned. It kind of makes one wonder what other attractions might have to offer, beyond the brochure headlines.
Let’s take a look at some other Colorado offerings found on brochure racks throughout the state.
Here an FAA-certified commercial pilot tows the glider, you and another pilot to a suitable altitude. Once there, the glider pilot releases the towline, allowing the aircraft to soar effortlessly and silently with no engine noise. Passengers can take the controls for a portion of the flight or just sit back and enjoy the ride.
Back on solid ground, the Downtown Aquarium in Denver features Diving With The Sharks in which visitors dive into the aquarium’s sunken shipwreck exhibit where they experience Sand Tiger Sharks, Brown Sharks, Zebra Sharks and Barracudas.
Another experience available, Swim With The Fish, lets kids ages 6 and up snorkel with the facilities 350-pound Grouper, Moray Eels and more.
Also water-oriented, Raft Colorado, run by Raft masters since 1989 offers a variety of raft adventures and specializes in group experiences. On the Arkansas River in Canon City and Clear Creek in Idaho Springs, Colorado, Raft Masters provides all the equipment and safety training.
Beginners to advanced rafters at Clear Creek experience some of the best and most exciting whitewater, about 30 minutes away from Denver. Arkansas river programs boast spectacular scenery on America’s most popular rafting river.
Package deals include a Rail & Raft offering that begins with a scenic round-trip train ride through Royal Gorge. After an included buffet lunch, choose an afternoon raft trip on either Bighorn Sheep Canyon or Royal Gorge. A Boat & Bridge package combines Royal Gorge Bridge and Park with a half-day raft trip.