Skydivers take aim at Bijou Park |

Skydivers take aim at Bijou Park

Susan Wood

The city of South Lake Tahoe is toying with the idea of signing on a skydiving company to operate out of the Lake Tahoe Airport.

The landing zone is up in the air though.

Three options have been whittled down to the most logical choice – Bijou Community Park in town.

“Any time we welcome any kind of sporting activity here that’s a good thing,” City Councilman Tom Davis said Thursday. “It adds another dimension to our offering.”

Carl Ribaudo of the Lake Tahoe Airport Commission agreed. The commission approved the request for tandem flying from Skydive Lake Tahoe 10 days ago.

Ribaudo and City Manager Dave Childs think the idea has a good chance of flying once the landing site has been finalized for the Beckwourth-based company that takes off at the Nervino Airport near Quincy, Calif.

General Manager and Chief Instructor Ken Jobsky, who’s been flying for 10 years and teaching for nine, is excited about the prospect of operating in the town his company is named after.

“First of all, what struck us is the beauty,” he said of the reason owners Charles Bryan and Mike Vail of Alpine Meadows were interested in doing business here.

Jobsky has been fielding several calls into his Beckwourth office from tourists and residents wanting to sky dive.

He figures the 4-year-old company signs on about 40 percent permanent residents and 60 percent visitors.

Each party receives one hour of training on jumping with an instructor. Only those with a United States Parachuting Association license may jump alone.

The risk dictates the requirement.

“Yes, skydiving is a dangerous sport. We don’t try to hide that fact. But it’s a manageable risk,” Jobsky said.

In the 1,000 customers Skydive Lake Tahoe has served, only one has resulted in an injury – a twisted ankle.

“And, he walked away from it,” he said.

For many jumpers who have caught the fever across the United States, the thrill outweighs the risk.

Jumpers dive into the vast sky from 13,000 feet, free-falling at 120 mph. When the skydiver pulls the rip cord, the speed suddenly reduces to 10-15 mph.

“No one in this business makes a ton of money,” Jobsky said, citing the fun nature of the job as why he works in the field.

For customers, a high threshold for fun is all that is required to enjoy skydiving – and of course money.

The service will cost no more than $250 per person. The exact amount will soon be finalized too.

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