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FreeFallGal

Seattle Scene

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My bf and I are considering relocating from the Chicago area to Seattle. Obviously, skydiving is a major consideration. I am looking for some honest, no-bs information about the skydiving scene in the Seattle area (ie, how is the weather, what is the skydiving season, people, environment, etc). Here's what we are accustomed to. We currently jump at a dz with an Otter. We are mostly flat-flyers, preferring to do jumps with 10-20 people (or more when the opportunity is there). We basically jump with the same organizer every jump and we try to make at least 10 jumps each weekend (my bf does more like 12-15). We have a trailer that we keep parked at the dz, so we camp out for the entire weekend along with at least a dozen other people. We have a bonfire on fridays and saturdays and hang out till the wee hours of the morning. We hang out with our skydiving friends in the off-season and even during the week during the season. Any information from Seattle skydivers or people familiar with the dzs there would be greatly appreciated.

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Here's what I know about Seattle... I will let the Kapowsin regulars give a bit more information about that DZ as I've not actually jumped there.

Kapowsin is the only DZ in the area with an Otter. It is about 2 to 2 1/2 hours from Seattle proper. They are just reestablishing themselves in a new location this season, but they might be the kind of DZ where you could park a trailer.

Northwest Skydivers is about an hour north of Seattle. It's a new DZ this season and has a mix of RW and freefly. Plane is a Porter; there's some talk of having a second Porter next year but nothing's for sure yet. You could most likely park a trailer there, but the amenties on-site are fairly limited (restrooms only). Lots of people will camp there all weekend and there's bonfires all the time.

Snohomish is about 45 minutes from Seattle and is a Cessna DZ in the off-season; there's usually a Grand Caravan in the summer. Mix of belly and freefly there, too. Large tandem and student population that can limit up-jumper lift capacity. Not much of an after-hours scene at the DZ and I am not sure if you could camp or put a trailer there. They do have showers on-site.

Blue Skies is a bit more difficult to get to from Seattle (involves a 1-hour ferry ride or a long drive). Cessna DZ. Only been there once so I don't know too much about it.

All of them have gorgeous views, each is slightly different. As for the season ... summer is spectacular and fairly consistent, winters are very much hit or miss. We'll have winters where we won't see the sun for two months; we'll have others where there are clear, cold days that are very jumpable if you're willing to bundle up. All of the DZs (with the exception of Northwest Skydivers) are year-round operations, though the winter will have more limited hours and lots of days where hop & pops are your only option. On the worst days in the Seattle area, the other side of the mountains will often have better weather (though it'll be cold), so you can always drive the 3 hours to Richland Sky Sports to get a fix). Or you can just enjoy the benefits of winter and go ski or snowboard 1-2 hours from the city.

I'm not sure there's any DZ in the Seattle area that would support your interest in regularly doing larger jumps - Kapowsin might - but I'd have to let someone else comment on that (and one of these days I have *got* to haul my ass down there!).

Quite honestly, it's a fun skydiving scene, but it's not really a "big DZ" scene. Kapowsin's getting back up to full strength after being semi-homeless, so time will tell there.

Hope that helps. Feel free to PM me for any more details.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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and has a mix of RW and freeliers



So which one are you? :P



Oopsie. I only lie to get on freefly jumps. :D

"Yeah, yeah, I can *totally* rock the head down.":S
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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and has a mix of RW and freeliers



So which one are you? :P



Oopsie. I only lie to get on freefly jumps. :D

"Yeah, yeah, I can *totally* rock the head down.":S



:D:D I always tell people that I can cork with the best of 'em. . . but I'm getting better, really. . .

_____________
PMS #394

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Only Kapowsin has an Otter and even there it's rare to have 10-20 people on the same jump. 8 ways and smaller are more common. April to November is the season, depending on how well you deal with the cold, of course, I jump 10 months a year.
"The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it. " -John Galt from Atlas Shrugged, 1957

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Don't plan on really skydiving year round unless you like hop n pops. Winter in Seattle is a time to try and hone in on your swooping skills. There will be large stretches of time where the most altitude you will get will be 2,000.

But there are always nice places near Seattle to go skiing or snowboarding. You can also get snowshoes and trek around the moutains or go hiking in the rain. (Really not as bad as it sounds.)

As far as large DZ's with a good RW scene, Kapowsin used to be pretty good about organizing large belly ways, but I don't know what it is like since they moved. I am sure you could call the DZ and speak to them about what to expect.

Snohomish won't let you keep a trailer there and the parties are usually off the DZ if there are any. Some days they will have a good RW scene.. but it is really hit and miss.

NorthWest is just opening but has a fair group of Candians and a couple Washintonians who do RW.

Anyways.. hope this helps. I've lived here for 3 years now and jumped at Snohomish, Kapowsin and NorthWest. I'm happy we moved up here, but we moved specifically to an area with crappy weather so that I could focus on school. But after we moved up here I discovered that I love hiking and backpacking as much as skydiving.

-Karen

"Life is a temporary victory over the causes which induce death." - Sylvester Graham

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Plus, a lot of Washington skydivers make the trip down to So. Cal in winter to jump at Perris or Elsinore. This usually works, though occasionally they pick the wrong week and get rained out down here as well, a super bummer, but winter is OUR rainy season as well, though most of the time it's very jumpable.

But if you're seriously into the big stuff, you will want to plan winter trips to Cali.

Your humble servant.....Professor Gravity !

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if you have depression issues, stay away from the Northwest. Your best bet is Portland The weather is a 'little' better (still only the 3 month reliable weather that the NW gets). Skydive Oregon (about 45 minutes from Portland) has a super otter AND caravan AND a 182 with a new engine in it. During the off season, there is usually a turbine plane there. Your allowed to use the camper there usually around may-october-ish. And, there's pretty much all the cool shit that Karen said as well without the horrible traffic that Seattle has.
my pics & stuff!

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Not much has changed....the weather still sucks ass 9 months out of the year. Kapowsin in Shelton jumps year round...weather permitting. Snohomish i'm guessing is the same but with limited capacity (tandems are priority) and there's a place on whidby island that looks to be doing pretty good. Also a smaller place out in Chelan, not sure if they are year round.
my pics & stuff!

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i lived in PDX for 3 years, and i absolutely love it, wish i could move back, which i could, but Seattle has more to offer me in terms of everything. i am separating from the military in less than a month and im seattle bound from now on to pursue school and of course, get my adrenaline on.

im surprised noone has mentioned chelan. there is a new kid on the block, i think they only have one smaller plane, but they throw kickass boogies and events constantly. helo jumps, otters, etc. this october 3-6 is chelan skyfest, and its going to fucking rock. i know the owners and they are solid people.

if you are into speedflying, snowboarding, BASE, and a plethora of other things besides skydiving, seattle is the absolute shiznit.

cant wait to become a transplant!!!!!
gravity brings me down.........

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I live in Seattle. There are no really big DZs here, Kapowsin is the biggest (medium size DZ with an Otter and a Caravan) and Snohomish is a bit smaller (with a Caravan).
Snohomish is closer but more "old school", belly, safety + tandem oriented (sadly they banned wingsuits). Kapowsin is a longer drive but is more chill, freefly and "cool kids" oriented (and wingsuit friendly).
Depends on what you like. I like Snohomish because people are awesome, friendly, coaches approachable and as a beginner I feel safer there (if someone does stupid shit, they will be talked to for sure). I like Kapowsin because they have fewer rules and are a bit more chill if you are able to be responsible for yourself and loads turn faster.

I posted some more details in another thread:
http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?post=4657875#4657875

EDIT:
As to seasons.. Snohomish is open year round except for November and December. Kapowsin I believe is year round (but I'm not 100% sure). Year round usually means that off season it's only weekends. It also means you either suck up the cold and spend half of the weekend wondering if the clouds will clear or go skiing instead. Season is May-October. This year we had fabulous weather since June pretty much every weekend, with maybe 1-week break. But it's not a rule every summer, each summer is a bit different. On the bright side, it's only a 2hr flight to CA :) Also I know people who manage to get 400-500 jumps in a year here (as in recreational jumpers, not instructors), so if you really want to jump a lot, it's doable.

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