COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Skydivers from across the country are flying to Colorado Springs this weekend! iFLY Colorado Springs is hosting the US 2022 Indoor Skydiving Nationals for its first major competition. It’s an event that highlights the ins and outs of an emerging sport.
18-year-old James Rogers is one of 150 competitors he’s traveled all the way from Florida to try and snag a ticket to the World Cup in Slovakia.
Rogers says, “My dad and I got into it years ago, he was a paratrooper in the army and that’s how he got into skydiving and stuff and knew the tunnels were a thing, so we just started, and it’s been going from there It just kept getting better, I really liked it and started competing.”
Although it’s a unique looking sport like any other, the more you practice, the better you get.
“Flying a lot, practicing the different disciplines, freestyle and dynamic, getting faster, looking cleaner, looking better, learning new tricks, etc.,” says Rogers.
So what are the judges looking for?
“We have two disciplines, Speed and Free. Speed laps are very fast, we have to fly a very specific pattern and then Free, you do a routine and make it look really nice, and very complex and artistic moves and stuff like that,” says Chief Justice Garet Blodsworth
Skydiving experts say indoor skydiving is the perfect place to start before trying it outdoors.
I-Fly Instructor Dave Aretzlaff says, “If I were to start all over again, I would start here. I’ve done thousands of skydives and that’s the best way to learn balance, what that is, like yoga, you’re learning these new positions with your body, and there’s a really quantifiable way to do this, which is for most people, myself included.”
The Air Force Academy “Wings of Blue” benefits from having this wind tunnel in their backyard.
“That’s a 14-foot tunnel for us, it’s circular, and there’s a lot more space now to practice all the maneuvers that we would do in a normal mid-air skydive in the wind tunnel, so it was huge.” , says coach Jarrod Aranda
Indoor skydiving has been knocking on the door of the Olympics for some time, in fact it was beaten by breakdancing at the last Olympics.
For it to become a reality, Aretzlaff said, “I think people just need to be exposed to it a little bit more. And I think we need to come up with a better business plan if you like that part of it and that’s how you quantify it.”
Experts predict that indoor skydiving will become an Olympic sport in the next 4 to 8 years as its popularity continues to grow. Nations run until Sunday, participation is free. If this has piqued your interest, check it out.
Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app, available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV, and Android TV. Just search for KOAA News5, download and start watching.