Photos by Mike Poulson
When Nathan Packer and Mike Poulson first met as skydiving instructors in Ogden, they brainstormed on making a club and instantly became friends. Now, their club, UVU Indoor Skydiving, hopes to perfect their craft while becoming the first collegiate indoor skydiving team in the nation.
Through judging based on live Wi-Fi broadcasting and go-pro cameras, UVU’s team, hopes to compete simultaneously with indoor skydivers all over the world from Ifly in Ogden.
“Right now we’re looking for sponsorships—$10,000 to $15,000 to actually put the team together, but that will give us suits, training and the entry fee,” said Poulson, vice president of UVU indoor skydiving club.
As the UVU clubs program slogan, “Do more of what you love,” indicates, two skydiving enthusiasts, Packer and Poulson, have decided to take advantage of funding offered by the school.
“The clubs organization at UVU is probably the best that I’ve ever seen because with the money that we raise they actually match a percentage,” Poulson said.
Additionally, students who attend Ogden’s Ifly with the club get a discounted price of $35 for a two-minute free-fall session, instead of the original cost of $50. The whole idea being that those in the club can become better at skydiving technique for less money.
As Poulson explained, practicing in the wind tunnels is also advantage for jumping out of a plane and into the sky.
“Anything you can do in the tunnel, you can do in the sky. In fact, it makes you more technical being in the tunnel because you have to work in a confined space,” said Poulsen.
As fan of extreme sports, Poulson was able to explain the differences between indoor skydiving and regular skydiving.
“A lot of times in the sky…you don’t know if you are back sliding or forward sliding, you have nothing to refer to. [The ground] is so far away your brain doesn’t register that you’re even falling,” Poulson said.
An advantage of indoor skydiving doesn’t have any of the inherent risks of extreme sports, which Poulsen seems to also love.
“My mom has only sworn twice, when my sister was dating a complete idiot and when I went base-jumping. She’s like ‘it’s enough, enough. Don’t even tell me what you’re doing!’” Poulsen said.
If students or their mothers are uncomfortable with the idea jumping out of a plane, Poulsen takes beginners to the tunnel because, for one, it’s cheaper, and they are able to develop solid technique.
“A lot of times people start kicking like they’re swimming, “ he said, laughing. “Yeah, it doesn’t work that way.”
In competitions judges can closely observe skydiving technique, which Poulsen explained is a matter of controlling the body like an airplane in terms of how movement and body position affects the direction of travel against the wind. Once beginners get the basics down, they can start to work on their own style.
Though an unconventional sport, Poulson considers indoor skydiving just as valid as any other.
“Skateboarding didn’t used to be considered a sport until you got a group of individuals that start getting excited about it and putting money into it. Indoor skydiving is definitely gaining traction.”
In the end, Parker and Poulsen just enjoy getting students together and having fun.
“It’s a really cool way of bringing students together. For people who’ve never done [indoor skydiving], it’s scary, because you don’t know what to expect. [The club] has become something we hope to perpetuate so that people can continue to enjoy this even after we graduate,” Poulson said.