written by Bronte Dod | photos courtesy of Skydive Awesome!
Don’t call it jumping out of a plane.
I made that mistake in my interview with the team at Skydive Awesome!, Oregon’s newest skydiving outfit based in Sisters, and was quickly corrected.
While skydiving is an adventurous sport (to say the least), for some, it’s a lifestyle. There’s a lot more to it than just jumping out of a plane.
Stephen Rosier, one-fourth of the team at Skydive Awesome!, talked about skydiving as an evolution.
“You start out by experiencing a skydive,” he said. “Then you feel the energy of everything that’s going on at the drop zone, and then you decide you want to try that again.” And again, and again.
Sixteen years and 8,000 jumps after his first skydiving experience, Rosier had met his wife, Cara (while skydiving). They teamed up with another couple, and both sold all their possessions to buy a plane, hire a pilot and find an airport. After a year and a half, they had their own skydiving business, which opened at the Sisters Eagle Airport in March of this year.
Stephen and Cara Rosier are co-owners of Skydive Awesome! with Ryan and Laura Scothern. In another life, before skydiving, Stephen worked in construction. Cara was a marine biologist. Ryan was an electrician. Laura was an accountant. They all found skydiving, and each other.
They talked about skydiving as if it were a drug.
“Once you get that initial taste of it, you have a hunger to experience it again,” Stephen said. “The more times you do it, you start to feel a need to keep doing it.”
They talked about how skydiving makes them feel like themselves.
“I’m addicted to the freedom it gives me,” Ryan said. “Once that door opens, my mind focuses me and I’m free. It’s when I get to focus and be fully me and nothing else can touch me.”
They talked about the focus it gives them in their lives.
“For that forty-five to sixty seconds you’re in freefall, you have no choice but to focus solely on what you’re doing,” Cara said. “You don’t have a choice to be thinking about something else because in a minute you have to pull your parachute and save your life.”
They talked about how misunderstood the sport can be.
“You continually learn in this,” Laura said. “It’s a constant learning sport where, as long as you check your ego, you will always have something new to learn.”
They talked about how they don’t want Skydive Awesome! to be like other skydiving businesses that are solely focused on the money.
“We want to give people an experience,” Laura said. “We want them to really feel what it’s like to be a part of our family.”
The pilot, James Butler, talked about how weird it is to land a plane without the cargo you took off with.
“I’ve never had someone get out of the plane before I landed,” he said. “It’s weird to think about. You take off with five people in the plane, and then I’m landing by myself.”
They talked about how you just have to try it—just once—to understand it.
About a week later, I found myself in a jumpsuit and helmet, harnessed to Stephen, staring down at Central Oregon from a tiny plane 10,000 feet above ground. During the twenty-minute plane ride up to elevation, I talked about how I wasn’t nervous. I was lying.
The door opened. We jumped. But it was so much more than that.
written and photographed by Joni Kabana Rhonda and Jim Urquhart of the Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue, had no idea what…