Stumbling 36mph 855′ Down – SkyJump at Stratosphere Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas

by January 9th, 2011 - Culture »

This video does not do it justice.

I got into Las Vegas after a 6 hour flight, having slept maybe an hour before the trip and having unfortunately eaten a questionable guacamole turkey sandwich at the airport, crippling me my first day in Las Vegas until very late with exhaustion and indigestion.

The next day, I was not quite as emoldened to the idea of jumping off of an 855′ tower as I was during the weeks leading up to my trip. After some delay, I bought the ticket ($99 for the jump; $15 the video) and proceeded to take the ride, treating the experience more as a band-aid rip, rather than carefully considering the lighting conditions for my souvenir DVD recording.

Therefore…the video is blurrier than you would like. And regardless of the time of day, the camera angle that they use really doesn’t do justice to what is happening. It’s clearly not the free-fall of a bungee jump or sky-dive, but it’s still a hell of a place to start, reaching speeds of 35-40mph with a sudden slowing tug at the bottom. Given that the only reference for my descent is the distant city landscape, it may indeed look as though I was simply being easily lowered, but other videos taken from below in daylight reveal a more startling event.

The staff were incredibly helpful and calming, engaging in relaxing conversation as they suit you up, strap you in, and take you up to the perch. Once there, the staff remains cordial and professional moving you quickly through the paces of further safety cables – although you’re not quite sure what they’re doing – and before you know it, you’re all ready to go standing with your tippy toes dangling over the abyss…as you are suddenly given the following instructions:

3,2,1 JUMP!

In the video, you’ll see me look back just before dropping off the edge, asking, “Really? Are you sure?” before fatalistically tumbling off the edge, a thousand “mehs” flowing through my mind, quickly replaced by one giant “WTF!?” thrown against the shocking site of ground rushing toward me, a question ultimately answered by a hopeful, “I guess…”

Landing without incident, but for a thousand chemical/hormonal rushes, I was composed enough to thank the young lady for “catching me”…

It was…information of a very unique sort…providing quite an experience I hope to build upon with bungee jumps and sky-dives, ultimately unwisely ramping up the danger to free-jumping into a volcano.

it is perhaps the greatest thrill you can get right on the main Vegas strip without flirting with poverty or STDs…

Sky Jump @ Stratosphere Hotel and Casino

The sounds are some lovely arrangements, perhaps too calm for the activity they accompany, by Rachel Benjamin.

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