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illusioneer

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Last weekend I was told that while I was not jumping during the last 14 years, there was a decline in the number of jumpers in the sport.:o
I found this to be counterintuitive...With the boom in "x-games" and adventure type of sports I expected the number of jumpers to be growing by large amounts.
My questions are:
1: Why are there not more people flocking to our sport?
2: Do tandem jumps hurt the number of new jumpers by turning the jump into a thrill ride with less commitment to the sport?
3: What can be done to increase the number of new people comming to, and sticking with our beloved sport?
4: What thoughts do ya'll have about this subject.

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All of these topics have been discussed in great detail a few times in these forums. Please use the search and seek out some of the past arguements, for the most part they still hold true.

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Last weekend I was told that while I was not jumping during the last 14 years, there was a decline in the number of jumpers in the sport.



The sport was growing until about 1999/2000 and has seen a shrinkage since then. The numbers of USPA members today are still higher then the numbers of the early 90's.
Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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Last weekend I was told that while I was not jumping during the last 14 years, there was a decline in the number of jumpers in the sport.:o
I found this to be counterintuitive...With the boom in "x-games" and adventure type of sports I expected the number of jumpers to be growing by large amounts.
My questions are:
1: Why are there not more people flocking to our sport?



It's not televised. It seems expensive (but really isn't that bad compared to lots of sports: Aspen lift tickets are now $87/day, greens fees at a nice golf course can be $200 for 18 holes). You don't really understand what skydiving means until you do it (dressing up in goofy colored suits and holding hands doesn't sound like fun).

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2: Do tandem jumps hurt the number of new jumpers by turning the jump into a thrill ride with less commitment to the sport?



No. I wouldn't have wasted the money on a static line without freefall and may not have wasted a full weekened on ground school (the freefall ride at Six Flags isn't that much fun). I was all over a few hours to make a 10,000 foot freefall.

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3: What can be done to increase the number of new people comming to, and sticking with our beloved sport?



What would increasing the number of skydivers buy us and what would it cost us? Cheap season passes and high speed lifts mean the snow at Colorado resorts can be ruined by lunch. Some older scuba divers don't seem happy with how accessable that sport has become.

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The drop zone I jump at has become a tandem factory and experienced jumpers now come 2nd. The tandems are what pays for the big plane & the facilities
but experienced jumpers are where the instructors come from, they also provide the good vibes that students see when they come out for their first jump( this is a sport I might like to join). A lot of experienced jumpers feel like the dz is no longer any fun and don,t come out a lot, the laughing and having fun is not always there for the students to see. Personally I feel it is up to us to make the dz fun but sometimes its like banging your head against the wall. Now we have a shortage of instructors, the instructors there now are doing a great job of dealing with the work load
I do not know how to fix it other than to try and rally the experienced jumpers (some are already trying this). The owners and management are very busy,so it is up to us to try and keep it going.

Just a thought

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I think you just said it:
"....With the boom in "x-games" and adventure type
of sports I expected the number of jumpers to be growing by large amounts...."

Today skydiving has to compete with many more
"adventure"-type activities than in the past.

Also, Im wondoring whether, as a whole, the new
generation is that interested in "real" adventure -
given that it has been overexposed to it on TV, and "experienced" it since young
age with computer games.
When I started skydiving, you
seldom saw anything like that on TV - so I was
really intrigued when, after watching the movie
Point Break, I was given the opportunity
to give skydiving a try. My point here is that there
seem to be a fine line between exposing the sport
at the right level to get lots of new recruits, and over-exposing it to the point of making it look "old hat".

Or, it could be simply an "old vs new" generation thing, where junior is not really interested to do stuff that mom and dad have done, or are doing.

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Last weekend I was told that while I was not jumping during the last 14 years, there was a decline in the number of jumpers in the sport.:o


And I wonder how many other people still consider themselves to be skydivers after not jumping for the last 14 years. See? We missed you, you should have been here helping us to cultivate new jumpers. Ok, now that you have learned your lesson, just make sure that you come to your dz alot and help make the weekends fun for the new up and commers. Then we'll see you all at the Convention next year!

skydiveTaylorville.org
freefallbeth@yahoo.com

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Reasons why it isn't mainstream and will probably never be:
-You can't skydive until you're 18...so forget the Xgames contributing.
-Cost...Name a few other sports that cost 7 grand to start...jump course and gear should run you that, let alone jump tickets.
-Locations, dropzones are usually at least an hour away from most people. If you don't drive, you're probably not jumping regularly.
-Most people view skydiving as a novelty and something to do once, but that usually it. Most people love it their first time, but never really consider being a skydiver.
-It's not a viewer friendly sport..something you can only watch on tv (for obvious reasons). Skydiving in general can be pretty boring to watch, on a point basis.
-Out of site, out of mind...because it gets zero coverage, how many people think of skydiving on regular basis, who are not skydivers?

This said, I'm fine with it. I like that skydiving doesn't have a bigger following.;) It wouldn't make it any less great, but Perris can get crowded enough without bringing in more people.

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1: Why are there not more people flocking to our sport?
2: Do tandem jumps hurt the number of new jumpers by turning the jump into a thrill ride with less commitment to the sport?



You just answered your own question, see #2.

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3: What can be done to increase the number of new people comming to, and sticking with our beloved sport?



For one thing, we need to bring back S/L programs and keep the cost down for those 18 to 25 and still in collage or other schools, or even working stiffs for that matter. But many many DZ's across the country have and are doing away with S/L and price AFF & TDM's out of reach for a large part of the younger population. Too many were sold on "mainsteaming" the image and the sport as a whole and trying to cash in on the "extream" crap we saw a few years back. One of the biggest turn offs I see with students when they ask about learning, after their 320.00 dollar skydive/w-video is the cost of doing one of two progressions @ most DZ's, they can afford to stay current and already have a ton of student lones to repay or are taking them out for more school, but they would love to keep jumping and would bring their school buddys with them too, if only there was a cheaper way to learn!

There are many people I have trained to be skydivers, who wouldn't be skydivers today had S/L not been available to them, just ask Floats18!
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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>But many many DZ's across the country have and are doing away with
>S/L and price AFF & TDM's out of reach for a large part of the younger
>population.

That's partly because no one wants to go SL any more. We used to offer both programs at Brown. I'd teach the same basic FJC and then just tailor the last 30 minutes (actual dive flow) to each program. Very few people would sign up for SL - and of the ones that did, half of _them_ would switch to AFF by the end of the course because it sounded more fun. So after a while we dropped the SL course. In many ways it was easier - you can drop three students with one JM in less time than it takes to get one AFF up in the 206 - and that took two JM's. But SL just wasn't popular.

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I think that either more dz's turn into clubs to keep the costs down or dz's go after the volume and not gouge the few customers they do get, once again keeping costs down for most all. It is very expensive to do, I am a full time student as well so I do know how that can be. I would like to see more owners like Bill Dause of parachtue center in california. Last I checked his cost was still only $15 to 13,500. He runs multiple turbines as well. Little more like that could go a long way. Everyone is trying to cash in on the extreme sport idea as said earlier by another. For the love of the sport huh? I don't think very many embrace that, although they should. A lot need to check their reasons for jumping. Did I do this to make money or to HAVE FUN. Help some people out, have fun with new guys show them your passion for it. I always heard about how much back in the day people would just have fun and not worry about cost really, and how everyone had THE fever to jump! I rarely see that and it is sad for most experienced people who want to jump and get others involved if they have the chance. What I see now is, well I won't make any money off of you so I don't really care if you get up or not. We all have businesses to run thats a given but how much do you really need to make off your fellow jumper, REALLY.
don't try your bullshit with me!!!

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Bill,

Maybe it's a SOCAL thing? IDK but I have had more people here in the midwest go from AFF or TDM to S/L to afford the jumps because they wanted to learn to skydive and make more then one jump every two months and at an affordable rate.

S/L is alive and doing well here in the midwest, we get a ton of collage students who chose to do S/L over the other programs because of the cost alone.

Any DZ close to a collage or two were to start marketing hard 75.00 S/L FJC's you would get a ton signed up.
you can't pay for kids schoolin' with love of skydiving! ~ Airtwardo

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