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Coming full circle and skydiving in Switzerland

skydiving interlaken switzerland

It’s funny to think back to my very first trip to Switzerland. It seems like decades have passed when in reality it was only 6 years ago.

Is it just me or just time seem to change when you get older? I thought it was supposed to be the other way around; I’d be beginning this story instead with “it seemed only yesterday I took my first trip to Switzerland….” but nope, backwards as usual.

But this is a story for another day, in fact something I’ve touched on before – sometimes I think my travel memories lose significance and value over the years because I’ve seen TOO much. As if my brain has reached maximum pretty capacity and can’t handle ALL the landscapes and ALL the foods and ALL the adventure sports, causing me to forget things.

I think that’s why Switzerland feels like so much further in the past than it actually is.

Tangent.

skydiving interlaken switzerland

February 2008.

My BFF while studying abroad and I booked a last minute long weekend trip to Switzerland together. So poor we slept in the airport for 2 of the 3 nights we were gone and shared a dorm hostel bed in Interlaken. All we wanted was to see the Alps!

While deciding what crazy adventure sport to do while there, we ended up booking bungee/canyon jumping in the mountains because it was cheap. While exploring the mountains nearby in the morning waiting for our jump, we ended up making friends with 2 California girls studying abroad in Germany.

On a total high, they gushed to us about how they went skydiving, showing us pics and videos. Their exuberance and enthusiasm was contagious and I immediately regretted not booking skydiving instead.

Then they mentioned that is was over 500 bucks to jump, and my regrets immediately melted away into a poor college girl’s reality.

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Pre-canyon jump in Interlaken 2008

skydiving interlaken switzerland

So N and I went canyon jumping instead, had the best day together, and firmly cementing my budding love for Switzerland and big-ass mountains. But also at the same time I had the idea of skydiving in the Alps in the back of my mind.

I promised myself that one day, when I wasn’t broke, I was going to try skydiving, and I was determined it would be in Interlaken over the mighty Swiss Alps, not in some boring place like New Jersey (sorry to any Jersey folks out there!)

Over the years I had several opportunities pop up here and there to skydive around the world, but I always turned them down, wishing and dreaming that the day it would happen would be in Switzerland.

skydiving interlaken switzerland

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Fast-forward 6 years and I was back in Switzerland for the upteenth time visiting my childhood best friend who had moved to Neuchatel. This was my chance.

Up at the crack of dawn, I started my multi-train journey from Neuchatel to Interlaken with Eurail. Have I mentioned how awesome Swiss trains are? They’re so good they make the Germans look sloppy, which is an impressive feat in and of itself. 4 trains in a row with under 10 minutes change time between them and I didn’t miss a one.

I LOVE Swiss efficiency!

skydiving interlaken switzerland

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Checking in with Skydive Switzerland, it turns out the guy I was jumping with was good friends with my BFF’s housemates in Neuchatel. Small world!

They all were in the army together in the parachuting unit or whatever that’s called. It turns out a lot of the guys who work at the skydiving centers learned while in the army, which means they’re pros. Some of them have well over 10,000 jumps under their belts, which is pretty comforting to a scaredy cat like me.

So it was reassuring to jump with someone I sort of “knew” in a bizarre way. Oh, and did I mention he was smoking hot?

This of course meant that I had to keep it together and not do anything embarrassing like cry, barf or pee my pants. Pretty good incentive, right?

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Climbing into the tiny plane and getting strapped in, my nerves finally started to emerge.

But I’ve found the best thing to do when you start to get terrified is self-distraction. Gazing out the windows of the plane, I took in the beautiful Alps, focusing on the snowy peaks and thinking about how a dream I held onto for so long was finally coming true, then I would look down, say to myself “fuck that’s high…oh pretty mountains.” Basically how my mind works.

Then the door opened and I started to freak out, mentally, you know, had to keep it cool as a cucumber on the outside, except for the occasional “what about this strap?” and “are you sure this is attached right?” or “there’s a back-up parachute, right?” from me.

I’m pretty sure I was the most annoying person on that plane.

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Excited/terrified face

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Being in the back of the plane meant I had to watch everyone else jump before me. Not a fan, though it did help morale to see a woman in her 50’s scream “yipeee” as she went out first.

Ok, if they can do it, I can do it.

The last ones out of the plane, we crawled towards the open door where I immediately stared straight up at the sky avoiding looking at the ground at all costs.

Asking me if I was ready, I just responded screaming at the top of my lungs as we fell forward out of the plane. Pretty normal reaction I imagine.

I mean, my god, that poor guy is probably deaf by now from all the screaming girls he has to jump with. I definitely yelled the whole way down and then some.

skydiving interlaken switzerland

DON’T LOOK DOWN

skydiving interlaken switzerland

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Freefalling with the wind whipping around my face I was in awe. It’s hard to capture those feelings into words here. First off you’re so high up it almost doesn’t register the speed or fear of heights. You are quite literally forced to just enjoy the moment, flipping and spinning around above the mountains while the skin on your face flaps around in the most unflattering way possible, though not for my guide it seems – maybe it’s the beard.

But I mean, my god, what a way to see the world.

All too soon (or not soon enough) the cord gets pulled and the parachute pops up, yanking you upwards and slowing down your freefall, giving you time to breathe again and actually register what is happening.

skydiving interlaken switzerland

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Ok, I’m done now face

skydiving interlaken switzerland

At this point you’re on such a high you’re not scared of anything anymore, even when your guide starts making the parachute spin around and around along the valley. Just when you thought you were done hollering…

For me, this was the best part of the skydive because you had the time to check out the landscape without it rushing past you, fighting space in your mind between “wow this is the coolest thing ever” and “jesus christ I’m going to die screaming!”

But hey, when you don’t die is when you realize just how awesome the experience really was!

skydiving interlaken switzerland

skydiving interlaken switzerland

As we got closer to landing, I started to get nervous again. What if we crashed and I landed on my face or something?

Luckily the jumpsuits they give you to wear have little holders on the outside of the pants for you to grab onto and lift your legs up so that you gracefully slide into a landing on your butt. And if I did hurt myself – be it a badly bruised butt cheek or a broken coccyx – I had my ass covered (ohh!) by World Nomads travel insurance. Their plans are awesome. You can customize them and alter them any time you want!

Of course the solo jumpers who photograph people can land running and make it look all sexy and daredevil-ish, but that’s not for us girls who are more than happy to land on our asses.

skydiving interlaken switzerland
skydiving interlaken switzerland

But now I’m going to tell you a big secret about skydiving – it’s actually really easy and not that scary.

Wait, hear me out! Skydiving is so much easier than any other adrenaline sport owing to the simple fact that you are NOT in charge. You don’t have to do anything. The hardest thing you have to do is put on the suit and get on the plane. Once you in, you’re strapped in and the guy you’re jumping with is the one who throws you all out of the plane.

Trust me on this, it is a HELL of a lot easier when you don’t have to look down and take the leap of faith all on your own.

Just do what I did and look up instead. 

skydiving interlaken switzerland

So if you want my advice, go skydiving before bungee jumping or any other crazy adventure sport – it’s the easiest and the most badass.

Oh, and do it somewhere pretty.

Yup, skipping popping my skydiving cherry in dirty Jersey was the right decision! I will never, ever forget what it felt like jumping out of a plane over the Alps.

Not to mention there is something to be said for making a 6 year dream finally come true.

Have you ever gone skydiving? Would you like to try it one day – where do you have in mind?

skydiving interlaken switzerland

Many thanks to Skydive Switzerland for hosting me in Interlaken. Like always, I’m keeping it real – all opinions are my own – like you could expect anything less from me.

83 Responses to Coming full circle and skydiving in Switzerland

  1. Melissa February 21, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    I’ve done 4 tandem jumps and if I lived closer to a drop zone, I’d just go and get certified. My first time I was more nervous signing the waiver than the actual jump.
    It feels like the most natural thing in the world.

    • Liz February 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

      Woah that’s amazing!

  2. Marta Kulesza February 21, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

    Skydiving was always really high on my bucket list. I promised myself I am going to do it, once in New Zealand, but looking at the prices right now, especially in Queenstown I might wait a little bit longer. Maybe Bay of Islands?

    • Liz February 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      I’d do it over the mountains, in Wanaka it’s amazing!

      • Grace February 22, 2015 at 2:36 am #

        I’m visiting NZ again in August. This visit I’ll have the time to complete more activities than when I was out their with Conservation Volunteers NZ. Guess I need to check out prices for sky dives over Wanaka!

        • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

          I’ve jumped here too and it’s amazing!

  3. Kailey February 21, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    The first thing I thought was “wow, that guy is smokin!!” and then 2 sentences later you said it 🙂 Looks like so much fun!I I’m hoping to skydive soon

    • Liz February 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      hahahhaha same page 😀

  4. Susie February 21, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    I havne’t been skydiving yet…but may have the opportunity to when I go to South Africa in June! Hell, I’d skydive every damn day if my instructor looked like that 😉 hahaha you lucked out on the skydive instructor front I have to say!

    • Liz February 21, 2015 at 8:31 pm #

      hahahahahhaha one way to get us out of the plane!

  5. Sabina // Sabina Meets World February 21, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    My first thought: wow, that looks utterly terrifying. My second thought: I HAVE to do it. I love the point you made about how you are not actually doing anything throughout the jump. Plus, it seems like you could get some incredible views!

    • Liz February 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

      so many great views!

  6. Kathi February 21, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    Yay, this made me so excited. I did a skydive four years ago over Fox Glacier and that was sooo awesome! We were the first ones up in the air that morning, the weather was perfect, we got a small scenic flight close to Mount Cook and then it was time for me to jump!
    And yes, this is excatly what I tell people: I haven’t done a bungee or something else because it seems so much more terrifying. You actually have to jump whereas I didn’t have much of a choice. I was a little scared in the first few moments because tumbling around I could feel the speed. But then I was “on” my stomach and it was the best thing ever. So was the parachute part. I don’t have to tell you how amazing that part of New Zealand is…
    Love this post!

    • Liz February 21, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

      I bet it’s so amazing out there!

  7. Zoe @ Tales from over the Horizon February 21, 2015 at 9:42 pm #

    I’d love to do it. I considered going down to Wanaka when I was home for Christmas, but like your younger self I’m broke. 🙂

    • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

      Ah one day then!

  8. Ilona February 22, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    Wow. I must try it someday!

    • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

      Do it!

  9. Linda February 22, 2015 at 1:39 am #

    There is nothing like that first jump! I remember well that big gulp standing in the open door of the plane! Even after 150 jumps I never really lost that “oh shit, am I really doing this” moment. Skydiving taught me about risk management – how can I maximize my safety when doing this crazy, risky but awesome thing. I kept that view when I later learned to fly (and got certified to fly into clouds) and when I took up scuba. That view has also helped to make me successful professionally. So glad you got back to do this!

    • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

      So cool!

  10. Kendra February 22, 2015 at 3:07 am #

    I loved every bit of this. So inspiring and absolutely mindblowing-ly gorgeous (the scenery + YOU! And your guide, whoa!) I’m pretty terrified of heights but I hope I can talk myself into skydiving one of these days.

    • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

      You can do it, it’s really not that scary!

  11. Camille February 22, 2015 at 3:53 am #

    This really brightened up my mundane Saturday morning! I’m not sure I’ll ever have the guts to do it, but the gorgeous Swiss countryside might tempt me more than anything else could.

    • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:48 pm #

      It’s a very tempting place to jump!

  12. Victoria | Girl Tries Life February 22, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    Liz, that’s amazing! And with a cute guy to boot…

    I tried skydiving in Surfer’s Paradise, Australia. Totally agree with you in that it’s easier than bungee jumping, or for me easier than a canyon swing. Trying to inch my feet over the edge of a canyon swing platform was truly terrifying and my body locked up. With skydiving? Yeah, they do the jumping part and you’re STRAPPED ON for dear life. Not sure if yours was the same, but my guy had me “wrap” my legs under the door, so underneath the plane, and that was the strangest sensation. My head was saying “No! No! Legs go INSIDE planes, inside!” Serious amount of exclamation points aside, what a badass experience. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Do you think you’ll be tempted to do it again? Or was it a ‘check’ and we’re done kind of experience?

    • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

      Yeah I had the same! I jumped this year on my birthday in Wanaka and it was awesome, but a little more scary since you don’t have the same rush the second time around, at least for me

  13. Katrina February 22, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    Those views are gorgeous! I’d never skydive but I’m sure it’s fun!

    • Liz February 22, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

      It’s so much fun!

  14. Stacey February 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    Ya, so your comment about the hot skydiving dude, and not wanting to puke or anything in front of him. That was my first skydiving experience…. Lucky me. Just as we passed through a layer of cloud, he pulled on the line to make us do a little spin and up came my stomach. Thankfully not on me or him, but still. Massively embarassing to say the least.

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

      omg I wondered if that actually happens…

  15. Sarah Shumate February 22, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    My very favorite skydive I’ve ever taken was one where I went barefoot. If you ever get the opportunity to go again, leave your shoes on the ground. There’s nothing like feeling the sky whipping through your toes! 🙂

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      Woah that’s awesome!

  16. amy - toothbrush travels February 23, 2015 at 2:04 am #

    So glad you got to fulfil one of your one-that-almost-got-away dreams.
    Seems like a beautiful place to jump! xo

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

      It’s really awesome!

  17. Katelyn @ Diaries of a Wandering Lobster February 23, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    I’m deathly afraid of heights, but I love adventure sports. I’ve always said that I would never skydive, but secretly I really want to someday. I’d love to do in a really cool place like New Zealand or Patagonia!

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

      Both would be epic spots!

  18. Sigurdur Bjorgvinsson @theRedHeadExplorer February 23, 2015 at 10:33 am #

    I have always dreamed about skydiving, and I plan to do it one day. I have been bungee jumping once in Nepal though and that was awesome. Skydiving is in my future plans.

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

      Awesome, what a place to jump!

  19. Rahman @ Destination Iran February 23, 2015 at 11:14 am #

    That’s an amazing story full of excitement and of course well-written. No wonder BBC Travel has chosen you to write about: http://bbc.in/1xYwOLF Congrats Liz!

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 10:20 pm #

      Thanks!

  20. Luke Mitchell February 23, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    This is great for so many reasons, first though – you didn’t ONCE look freaked out in a single pic. Second, I really like how you put it into real perspective, the landing on your ass like a lady did make me laugh, and I have a fear of heights, but am sure that skydiving is the cure. I’m planning to do my virgin jump in South Africa, from Signal Hill (more a small mountain than a hill to me) and would love to share pictures when it happens!

    • Liz February 26, 2015 at 10:21 pm #

      that’s going to be amazing!

  21. Michelle | Lights Camera Travel February 23, 2015 at 6:31 pm #

    You look SO happy in all the pics! Wow, the views though… must have been amazing!

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      So amazing!

  22. amelie88 February 24, 2015 at 4:12 am #

    Never been skydiving but I have been paragliding. It’s the same thing if it’s a tandem jump–you don’t have to do anything, just show up and the pro straps you in and tells you what to do. You just enjoy the ride as you slowly fly down and admire the scenery. Also I’m not sure if you can skydive in New Jersey haha, but there are a couple of places out on Long Island and I know some people who have done it out there. Long Island may not be the most interesting place culture wise, but the geography around the area is pretty cool. You get an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean/Long Island Sound and of LI and the NY/CT coast. Not bad if you ask me. 🙂

    Of course the Swiss Alps are pretty amazing too.

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      sounds like you need to get jumping then!

  23. de February 24, 2015 at 4:29 am #

    I’ve been skydiving once. Super jealous of you though one of my next places that was on my list is Switzerland such a beautiful view.

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      views are amazing!

  24. Kirsten February 24, 2015 at 5:16 am #

    I wouldn’t go skydiving for all the money in the world. But I like your post! Not only was it a beautiful place, but you have a great collection of action shots of yourself being brave. I’m glad you didn’t end up a puddle. 😀

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:36 pm #

      hahah same 😀

  25. Whitney February 24, 2015 at 6:26 am #

    I love adrenaline sports and I am slowly working my way through them ALL. Paragliding in Lima. Check. Bungee Jumping in Whistler. Check. Skydiving over the Fraser Valley in the Pacific Northwest. Check! I love love love skydiving (minus the intensely plugged ears… ouch) but the rush of the free fall is like nothing else. I need to go back to Interlaken (with money this time) so that I can try out some of the extreme sports. And NZ too of course!

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

      so many extreme sports in Interlaken!

  26. Olga February 24, 2015 at 6:37 am #

    hahaha, I love the photo where you scream from excitement and the guy is just looking at you like you’re being over emotional! 😀 For him it’s probably nothing special anymore, once he did it about million times!

    Switzerland looks like a true fairy-tale! I’d love to see the Alpes, too!

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm #

      hahahaha so true!

  27. Arianwen February 24, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    How do you look so good skydiving?! I was a distorted mess in most of my photos!

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      ah I think I look like shit, one reason I didn’t post this for ages!

  28. the lazy travelers February 25, 2015 at 3:24 am #

    you look SOO happy and completely in your element! we would DEF puke/cry. no, both, at the same time, 100% chance. hot guy or no hot guy.

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

      haha I came close!

  29. Kris February 25, 2015 at 3:31 am #

    Hi there!

    Wow that must have been an amazing experience! I think I would not have enough courage to do it. Or maybe but without looking down, but seriously on the pictures you do not even look scared, I would be terrified 🙂

    Cheers
    Kris

    • Liz February 27, 2015 at 1:39 pm #

      haha I was, trust me!

  30. Mike | VagabondingMike February 27, 2015 at 6:40 pm #

    I know those pictures were (in part) taken for the blog but for anyone thinking about passing on buying the skydiving pictures at the end…DON’T!

    I made that mistake…TWICE and wish I some right now.

    Dive on!!!

    • Liz February 28, 2015 at 11:11 am #

      good point!

  31. Mike | VagabondingMike February 27, 2015 at 6:46 pm #

    I can’t stress enough the importance of paying the extra money and getting the skydiving pictures. I’ve been twice, cheap-skated out on them twice and truly regret it twice.

    …that’s a lot of ‘twice(s)!

  32. Sam February 28, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    haha! The super hot instructor was the first thing I noticed! I am such a big chicken, but I take off for Switzerland in a couple of months, and hope I can grow some balls by then to do this! I’m sort of disturbed by how photogenic you are! I’d be covered in tears and snot. I know you’re super busy, but if you can recommend any cheap (cheap for Switzerland) accommodations, I’d appreciate it. It all seems SUPER expensive – or at least what the cheaper areas are.

    • Liz March 1, 2015 at 10:11 am #

      I’d have to check, I always stay with friends when I’m over there so it’s been long time since I”ve done it independently.

  33. Kristi Miller March 7, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    Skydiving is by far the most fun thing I have ever done. Glad you loved it! And it never hurts having a hot tamale of a man strapped to your back! ow ow!

    • Liz March 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm #

      hahahahhahahha

  34. Sarah March 12, 2015 at 1:24 pm #

    Adding this to my giant list! The photos are hilarious

    • Liz March 14, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

      hahah thanks!

  35. Diana March 17, 2015 at 5:47 pm #

    Thanks Liz! I loved your pictures and description of your experience! I’m a woman in her 50s and I’m not sure if I’ll be yelling “yippee” when I jump over Interlaken this summer! I may need to wear a depends! My biggest fear is actually leaving the plane. I’m afraid I’ll just pass out! Your pictures and vivid description helped feel a little better about it. I think I’ll look straight up until I fee comfortable. I really want to have fun and see the mountains in this awesome way!
    Diana

    • Liz March 20, 2015 at 7:31 pm #

      thanks!

  36. Vinni March 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm #

    Wow such a nice article about sky diving in Switzerland. I am much more interested on sky diving is there any sky diving in India.

    • Liz March 20, 2015 at 7:33 pm #

      thanks!

  37. suzanne April 27, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    wow! and wow!

    You just give me crazy ideas when I go to Switzerland on July.
    i was thinking about zipline but now I want to skydive.

    thank you! great blog by the way

  38. suzanne April 27, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

    can you please give me more info on the skydiving where and what?
    thanks

  39. Stephanie April 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm #

    I loved this article! The first time I went skydiving, I did it in California over Lake Perris. It was an AMAZING experience and I can’t wait to go again. I will be traveling to Interlaken this July and was hoping to do some adventure sports. Any recommendations for other activities in Interlaken besides skydiving?

    • Liz May 22, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

      I went canyoning and I’ve hiked there too! And done a bungee!

  40. Rocio May 1, 2015 at 4:21 am #

    OMG you are so brave. It was nice to see some of my beloved Switzerland through the eyes of an adventuress like you. Since I live here I kinda over-see the beauty of this country. You really have got some guts girl, I couldn’t do it, but luckily for me, I could feel a bit of that rush just by reading your story.
    Another gorgeous skydiving point is in Locarno, south of Switzerland, at the Para Centro. They are super professional, I know somebody there that has been jumping since years. The view is a bit different, you can enjoy the “swiss italian riviera” and is gorgeous specially during summer. I would totally recommend it. Definetely Switzerland is a paradise for adventure, there is also a famous place for Bungee jumping, also in southern Switzerland, the place is called Verzasca.
    Thanks for the amazing story.

    Rocio.

    • Liz May 22, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

      Great tip thanks!

  41. european destinations May 1, 2015 at 11:12 pm #

    This is just gorgeous !*love* it all as the messages, the pictures and the quality of the writing. Thanks !

  42. Andrea July 17, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    LOL! I’ve been skydiving twice…in Long Island and yup…dirty Jersey. Lol. I couldnt wait any longer so i did it. Never in my dream would i have thiought that i’d be traveling to London, Paris, Switzerland and Iceland in September..by myself! So my dream is to bungy jump but like you, i didnt want to just do it off some wack place. I wanted somthing special and I found out the worlds third highest bungy jump is in Switzerland so i’m registed and ready to go in september! Go big or go home right?! Although if i can find that exact skydive instructor you had i will GLADLY change my plans and go skydiving with him instead! Hubba hubba

    • Liz July 18, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

      hahahahah

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