Each opportunity to jump is a blessing and it is the drop zone owners that work tirelessly to give us this gift. Meet Shannon Jardine, the owner & operator of the world-famous Alaska Skydive Center -- home of the Summer Solstice Boogie. We loved meeting Shannon while attending the boogie and we hope you get the opportunity to join him at his DZ soon.
How did you become interested in skydiving? When did you start?
It all started in 1995 as a dare. I was in the Air force stationed at Buckeye AZ. Never in my life did I think I would jump out of an airplane. I had seen someone jump on TV once and I thought that could be fun before I die. A few friends said lets go and jump, so I drove out to the DZ and no one else showed up. I was scared of heights and was terrified of small airplanes. In fact, if I do recall right the plane even had to do a go around. Climbing out the door on a static line I was absolutely terrified of the height and the engine noise. I was so scared I could not let go of the plane. The instructor gave the pilot a sign and bam the plane began to shake I could not hold on and fell into my future. I have been hopelessly hooked ever since.
Shannon on the right checking over load one
What was your inspiration or motivation to start a Dropzone?
Ha! After the dropzone we I was working at shut down due to a plane crash, my current dropzone manager and good friend Jason spent a long night convincing me being a DZO would be an easy gig. He even went on to say that he would be here whenever I needed him day or night. Well that lasted for about 3 months LOL. My motivation was the family so had within the Alaskan skydive community and the since of pride I have being a part of that community. I wanted to jump with my friends and I did not want the sport of skydiving to die in the great white north. Skydiving has done so much for me and my friends that I couldn't bare to see it disappear i truly have a passion for the sport and for Alaska skydiving.
Some of the most epic jumps in the world
What is your most memorable moment as a skydiver?
For me the dives that star out are any jump I can do with my friends or my manger Jason because it is such a rare thing that we get to jump together.
What is your favorite part of owing a Dropzone?
Being able to take Skydiving in Alaska the direction I feel it needs to go. Seeing both students and instructors grow and progress in the sport I love sooooo much.
Sometimes you just got to have fun
What is your least favorite part of owning a Dropzone?
The stress of making ends meet and the stress of not being their 100% of the time. Unlike some DZO's this is not my full-time job. I work on the Alaskan North Slope on a 2 week on 2 weeks off schedule. My wife Tammy has really stepped up and took this beast of a machine on and had it running effectively and efficiently
Tammy AKA the Boss
Tell me about Alaska and skydiving, do you see the sport growing?
Alaska has nowhere to go but up. We are starting to grow our core jumpers and they are bringing in more and more students who want to become skydivers. I foresee Alaska growing its fleet of aircraft and having the solstice boogie as one of the premier boogies for the year.
Solstice Boogie 2017
What's next for your Dropzone?
Creating and running a more comprehensive student program that will have a online component as well as a practicum side. We are streamlining our program to fit the crazy lives of our students who come from all facets of life. I think the big thing for Alaska Skydive Center is booting our student numbers and I turn increasing our lic skydiver numbers.
Where would you like to see your Dropzone in 10 years?
I see our dropzone increasing in number of jumpers and aircraft. I would love to see us flying and supporting a turbine aircraft.
Any advice for someone looking to start a Dropzone?
Marry the right person and surround yourself with a solid core of staff who are all in it for the right reasons and share the same vision.
The Right one
Do you have any advice for a new skydiver?
Take your time find an instructor you mesh with. Go to the dropzone even on bad weather days and learn as much as you can about the sport from the old dogs at the DZ.
A very new skydiver Ryan Casserly 10 years old
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to progress in this sport?
Take your time find a mentor and make sure to get advice from people who have been in the sport for a while. Never feel afraid to ask the DZO questions.
What sets you apart from other Dropzone?
There is no place on Earth like jumping in Alaska. The breathtaking beauty and the shear ruggedness sets us apart from other dropzone. I also feel our passion for skydiving shines through in all that we do here.
Yeah!! you can jump here
If you were a drink what would you be and why?
A "Jager Bomb" because of my fall rate. Lol just ask Squirrel my manager.
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