I grew up in a small, beautiful Colorado town on the western edge of the Great Plains, about thirty miles north of the New Mexico border. The small town and school environment made it possible to get involved in lots of different activities, from 4-H and team sports to park football and outdoor adventuring. Instead of trying out for sports, we talked our girlfriends into playing on the team so we would have enough players.
I was skiing competitively on a national level by my senior year of high school and was awarded a scholarship to attend Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs. While working on my Associates in Science degree, I discovered hucking a term we use for jumping off of stuff, mining and testing gravity. Steamboat has lots of good snow and rocks to ski off, and the danger of avalanches is relatively low. I was jumping off bigger and bigger things, which is how I ended up rope jumping in Moab, Utah. [Eds. Note: Check out the YouTube video The Moab Chronicles by Calvin if you’d like to feel your stomach lurch into your throat while sitting perfectly still.]
Somewhere in there I decided I wasn’t going to be a pro skier, so I ended up going to school in Boulder, Colorado. Then I discovered flying.
Flying changed my life. I was working two jobs to finance my education in the sky, focused mainly on flying airplanes. I also got into BASE jumping (jumping from Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth), starting with a bridge in Idaho called the Perrine. For the next seven years I was an S (Span) jumper. The other BA&E were either too scary or illegal. I made only one cliff BASE jump in Moab and I didn’t jump off another cliff until I went to Norway.
Get outside and do the things you love. High risk adventure sports are great for some, but being outside and challenging yourself is good for everyone. Get some fresh air and go find the edge that suits you.