Article was written by Greg DiFortuna, PussFoot Athlete and Member of The Mamba Spirit
In September of this year, I left the states to pursue a career in the tunnels in Europe and to become a competitive skydiver and tunnel flyer. I quit my job at Skyventure NH, parked my van and left my family and friends behind.
Some of the friends I left
She was hard to leave behind
But I was and am willing to do whatever it takes to achieve my goal -- nothing could hold me back.
My goal is simple: become a full-time professional competitive skydive/tunnel flyer.
So why Europe? Why did my goal require me to go all the way to Europe?
Practice Makes Perfect, But Practice Ain't Cheap
Tunnels in Europe are considerably cheaper making it way easier to buy lots of time and increase your skills exponentially. The variety of manufacturers here make a competitive market, lowering hourly prices and creates an atmosphere for experienced flyers that keeps people coming back -- all while making people feel welcome.
You can find hours from 300euro-750euro per hour (approx 370-850 USD) and most of the time it includes coaching. So if you’re in it to fly a bunch of time I highly recommend looking into a tunnel camp out here in the EU/Russia.
One can't compete without a tremendous amount of time and practice -- Europe is offering me the ability to do just this.
The Culture and Atmosphere
The tunnels here are designed for people to hang out and enjoy themselves. Unlike tunnels in the states which is designed for high turn over and diner-like service. Here in Europe, the tunnels are equipped with cafes/bars, showers and team rooms (that can actually fit a team) which keeps flyers from having to leave the facility which is amazing especially if you’re training super hard. The tunnels here have more of the culture you experience in the more fun jumper friendly dropzones.
This allows me a better cultural corporate atmosphere to focus on my self, my training, and my advancement.
Everything You Can Want, All Within Reach
The proximity from tunnel to tunnel is typically a few hours by car or a super cheap plane ticket away (50-100euro). In some areas such as Hurricane Factory Tatralandia in Slovakia, you have everything you could ever want just within a few Km. Skydiving, BASE, paragliding/speedflying, hiking, climbing, indoor water park/surfing, spas and Skiing/snowboarding in the winter.
This provides me the environment through proximity to focus on my goal all while enriching my heart & soul through the things that make me better in my sport & keep me smiling as an athlete.
Not knocking any of my friends/fellow instructors in the states but the coaching and flying out here is bar none. The Euro-style is heavily mimicked in the states but very seldom do you see the precise and clean flying of Europe in our American tunnels. They have a different attitude towards the way people should learn which in my opinion leads to a better understanding of how to fly your body and use the space in the tunnel.
While this could potentially be read as a controversial statement to the US scene I highly recommend experiencing it for yourself and seeing how much different the style/format truly is.
Come Join Us!
So if you’re planning on dropping some coin to pursue your own dreams of advancing your flight skills maybe consider the options Europe provides. You don't have to go all in as I have but you should consider this market as an option in your own journey. It has provided me my own opportunity to truly propel my journey to my goals and I couldn't be happier about making the decision I have.
See you in the wind and blue skies!
To learn more about Greg, check out his athlete profile page