Skydive Truckee Tahoe is a new skydiving company based out of the Truckee airport. Jules Drew co-owns the business with her sister, Jennifer Drew, and brother-in-law, Mike Swanson. Tandem jumps usually cost $250, but they’re currently running a special for local folks—including Reno—at $215. For more information, visit www.skydivetruckeetahoe.com.
So this is a new business?
It is a new business. We opened this year in May. It is the first time that there has been a skydiving center in Truckee. It took a couple of years. … We went through all the application procedures with the airport. We had some safety evaluations done. There was a lot of ground work that went into getting it started.
I’ve been in the states for almost 20 years now in various different parts of the states, mostly working at different skydiving centers, different drop zones, which is why I’d moved around so much, and then my sister and brother-in-law moved to Truckee about eight years ago or so, and I moved subsequently about a year after. So we’ve been here, myself since 2009, and they probably moved here in 2008. We came here just because it’s beautiful, the skiing, all the other amazing things that this place has to offer. And all three of us have a pretty extensive background in skydiving. It basically came to the point where we were like, why is there not a skydiving center here? And why don’t we open one?
And your brother-in-law is a professional stuntman?
He’s one of the Red Bull athletes. He’s on what’s called the Red Bull Air Force. He has over 20,000 jumps. He’s a multiple time world champion. … He gets to do skydiving stunts for commercials or movies. He just did the stunts for Point Break—the second Point Break. … That was predominantly all stunt work. I don’t know how much CGI there was—I think very, very little. So all those wing suiting, base jumping, skydiving scenes are him and his team. He just did that. He’s done the Transformers. …
What got you into skydiving?
I started skydiving just very briefly after I left South Africa, after I finished my degree. My boyfriend at the time and I left and went to England for a year and then came to America. So what got me into it was probably him—a boy. It was something I never really wanted to do, to be honest with you. I thought it was terrifying and I couldn’t understand why people did it until I went and was hanging out at a drop zone because my boyfriend was there, and I saw what an amazing time everybody was having, and had a major fear of missing out. And that’s kind of what got me started, but then I got hooked. And now I have just over 1,000 jumps—which compared to 20,000 is not that much, but I did my instructor rating, and jumped on a few fun competitive teams, and worked at a bunch of skydiving centers around the country in various different capacities. I’ve run a drop zone in a management position. I’ve worked in restaurants. I’ve packed parachutes for a living. I’ve instructed and coached—all different aspects of skydiving.
What’s the appeal of skydiving in the Tahoe region? Obviously the scenery is beautiful …
Yes, first and foremost, the scenery. … The views of the lake and the mountains are pretty spectacular. Mike, who has jumped all over the world, still maintains that this is one of the most beautiful places he has ever jumped. He said the other day, “If people want to jump somewhere else this beautiful, with this kind of scenery, they’d have to go to Switzerland.” It’s so beautiful. And it really does make a difference for the skydiving experience. We’re geared toward doing tandems at our center, so your tandem jump—you first jump or second jump—is going to be thrilling and exciting no matter where you do it—it’s amazing. But it’s so amazing to see the scenery that you see here. It just makes it that much more a special experience to be in a beautiful place.