I flew, iFly. It was one of those happen-to-be-in-the-neighborhood kind of moments. I had driven to Ogden to visit a friend at Salomon and although I have had the Salomon Center on my To-Do list since the place opened I had never checked it off. Until today. Heck, why not? I was here and when would I be "here" again?
What You'll Get:
iFly is skydiving without the plane and without the drop. A giant wind tunnel suspends you as you simulate a freefall without actually falling.
A lot of the time you're actually rising. Skydivers and military use this system for training. In fact the SkyVenture Fort Bragg in North Carolina is used for advanced free-fall training by the JFK Special Warfare School. There are only nine tunnels in the U.S. and only one in Utah. I had to try it.
Just two blocks away from the Salomon headquarters off of Washington Blvd. near 24th Street, pops this oasis of community- the Ogden City Mall.
New shops, new restaurants, this ultra-fancy multiplex cinema and the Center. iRock, iFly, FlowRider (should be called iWave but whatever), a Gold's Gym, bowling alley, bumper cars and a small arcade.
We climbed the three flights of stairs to the iFly front desk. "We're here to fly!" I announced. Expecting them to turn my 4-year-old-away, instead, the gal smiled, handed me the kiss-your-butt good-bye waivers and deposited us in the classroom.
The video lasted 10 minutes; five minutes past Sage's attention span. The film talked about gear, body position, what to expect. Check. I was worried that Sage missing the important points might be a problem but with kids you pretty much 'do' rather than demo. Seeing as how they had a flight suit her size I figured that they knew what to expect from a preschooler.
We suited up and used hand signals over the roar of the tunnel to indicate we were good to go. I sat on the bench as Kai expertly addressed my little one. He was swift into the column of wind. An 'air traffic controller' sat inside an attached booth adjusting the pressure depending on the bodies (and abilities) inside.
The air circulates from wall to wall via giant fans so you can't technically fall or smash against the sides. Sage was too young to process this lack of danger. She put up a mighty fight- kicking her legs and putting a death grip on Kai's neck. I tried to signal for her to straighten her legs and relax. But she's four in the middle of a thrill ride.
Kai set her back down and it was my turn.
I positioned myself as I had seen in the video. Was I doing it? Was I doing it without my instructor's help?? He signaled me to bring my arms in closer to maintain altitude.
Yes, I was flying solo! Soooooo cool. Then Kai grabbed my suit, stepped back like a discus thrower and launched us both into an ascending spin. I screamed but couldn't hear myself over the drone and the earplugs. After seconds that felt like time had stopped, we steadied and drifted down to shoulder height. I laughed like I do after a tense moment in a horror film.
Both of us had two times in the tunnel. Kai wasted no time getting Sage soaring and spinning on her second bout; no time for the panic to set in. I couldn't wait for my turn. A minute stretches inside. Then we were done. We stripped down and I asked Sage if she had fun. She said no, with a smile. "I was too scared." But you flew like a super hero, I told her. "Well, maybe I can do it next month," she replied.
Good, because I want to go back.
Nuts & Bolts
No experience is necessary for those over 3 to try iFly. Professional instructors hold your hand every step of the way if you want them to.
The intro flight programs cost $49 and include the classroom time, your coach, gear, and two, one-minute flights. Return fliers pay $15/min with a 3-minute minimum or $10/min on Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Not a bad price for a crazy adrenaline rush. On Mondays, kids under 12 fly free with a full price adult ticket - from 4 to 7 p.m. An instructor will always be present until you're comfortable flying solo.
Call for reservations 801-528-5348.
Follow Jill's Adventures on twitter @pcskigal