The craziest thing in all of Las Vegas isn't a fancy hotel, show, or poker game. It's actually the 800+ foot descent down the tallest building in the city- and boy is it insane! Here's me taking on Sky Jump Las Vegas:
Now I realize I didn't really show it, but yes, I was scared. A little. But I'm glad I did it!
As of when this article is being written, I conquered the jump about a month ago, which as really given me time to reflect on my experience. Below is a rundown of exactly what the experience is like, so you can know what to expect should you be up for it!
Upon arriving in Las Vegas, you can't miss the Stratosphere Hotel. This massive building stands at an impressive 1,149 foot height, making it one of the tallest structures in America.
Most people who have heard of the Stratosphere know it for the three crazy thrill rides at the top. If you'd like to know more about those, I encourage you to check out a separate article where I discussed my experience on them: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/taylor-bybee/the-stratosphere-hotel-wo_b_12791434.html
Sky Jump Las Vegas opened in 2010 and holds the record for the tallest commercial decelerator descent. As you saw in the video, you don't actually free fall- if it was a free fall, it'd be over in less than 5 seconds. By making it a controlled descent, it lengthens the experience and makes it so that you only reach a max speed of about 40 mph.
Those wishing to participate in the jump must first enter the hotel and take a left in the lobby, past the slot machines, and up an escalator to the second floor. Once at the top, you'll walk past a few restaurants and enter the Sky Jump gift shop. This is where you'll register, pay, get suited up, and ready to go. It's also where the landing pad empties out, so just like any good thrill ride, you'll end your experience by exiting through a gift shop.
On a normal day, the jump opens at 10:00 a.m., and closes well past midnight, meaning if you're wanting to experience it at night, you're able to do so. I opted to get there right at opening, which meant I didn't have to wait in any sort of line. I just walked right up to the register and told them I'd like to jump!
I'm sure the one thing that would prevent us from jumping more than anything would be the cost. And it's not cheap- Sky Jump Las Vegas costs $120 for the average visitor, and $100 for hotel guests. Of course, if you want any add ons, it's going to be more. The GoPro video package runs at a price of $150. As you can guess, this was the package I selected. As someone who films literally everything, my reasoning for choosing this option was "If it's not on video, did it even happen?" It's expensive, but worth it.
Once you've selected your package, you'll put any bags, cameras, phones, and shoes in a locker (free). This is because the only thing that can be on you is the clothes you are wearing- absolutely nothing in your pockets. I made the mistake of forgetting to check my back pocket and when I was suited up and getting patted down, I realized that I forgot to remove a spare camera battery. So what happened? I had to take my suit off so they could remove the battery, and then had to get rechecked! The staff is very thorough, but its for our safety, so its understandable.
Once you've emptied your pockets, you'll suit up into a blue and yellow flight suit, with a pair of lightweight shoes fastened on as well. Next, you'll slip some rock climbing-esque gear around your waist and torso, up to your shoulders. The gear is uncomfortably tight, but once again, it's for our safety. Finally, you'll be weighed (this is so the descent can be customized depending on your size).
At this moment in time, you're ready to jump. All you have to do is get to the top! This is done by being escorted into an elevator which will rapidly transport you to the 108th floor of the building. This is the same platform as the observation deck, meaning that there will be plenty of people watching you take the plunge!
From this point, you'll enter a glass room that leads you to the jump platform. This is where you'll receive a final pat down and check to make sure the harness is secure and ready to go. And now, the moment of truth.
You'll be asked to step out onto the platform (while hooked up to a red safety cable, of course), where you'll get your first good look at the amazing view in front of you.
It really is breathtaking. Too bad you won't have much time to take it in.
This is when your heart really starts pumping. This is it- the moment when you find out truly how brave you really are. Will you scream like a baby, cheer with joy, or back out completely? After the money you just paid, I would hope you wouldn't back out, though your brain probably will start playing the "what if" game, questioning the logic of what you're about to do. You've put your life in the hands of someone you just met a few minutes ago.
While all that is rushing through your head, the cables will be all hooked up, meaning you're ready to go. You'll be asked to put both feet on the edge of the platform, with your heads on the rails on both sides. "3....2....1...JUMP!"
Or in my case, don't jump. Get pushed.
Your first thought is 'WHOA,' quickly followed by some words too vulgar for this article. Finally, that terror will turn into joy. At least, for me it did.
The jump is over in about 20 seconds, when you automatically slow to a stop, landing safely on the bullseye. The experience is similar to bungee jumping, except there's no point when you fly back up. It's by far one of the wildest things I've ever done, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I was at a loss for words, and couldn't quite process what had just happened. It was all a blur really, and it was over so quickly. But I think if it were any longer then my brain would've come to its senses and backed out. Because the experience from start to finish had a fast pace, I didn't have much time to process what I was doing.
So the big question. Was it worth it?
Yes. Yes. YES!
Absolutely, it was totally worth it. Sure it was expensive, but this is something you may only be able to do once in your life. The reason why I'm okay with spending that much money is because it's money spent on memories. This is cool story that I'll be able to tell my kids about one day! You can earn money back, but something like this you may never have the chance to do again.
Sky Jump Las Vegas has got to be the wildest thing I've ever done. Willingly jumping from a height this high is not natural at all- but that's why I did it! It's an adrenaline rush just standing there on the edge of the platform! And once you're falling, it's absolutely incredible. I'd recommend this to any daredevil, or to anyone visiting Vegas who's looking for a good story to walk away with.
Below I've attached footage of I shot while I was there, documenting it from the very beginning, to the end. Below that is also the Sky Jump Las Vegas website, where you can learn more and hear testimonies from past jumpers.
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