Skydivers flock to Great Canadian Freefall Festival in Vernon

There’s a non-stop show happening in the sky over Vernon this weekend.

About 120 skydivers are in the North Okanagan city for the Great Canadian Freefall Festival.

“They came from as far as California, Montreal, and there’s a couple from Arizona,” Bret Chalmers with Okanagan Skydive said. 聽“A lot from B.C. and Western Canada but quite a few from further out.”

The big draw this year is a big plane called a Skyvan, brought in for the event from California. 聽It carries 22 skydivers at a time, to an altitude of 13,000 feet.

“It’s a huge attraction because the whole back of the airplane opens up [and] we can all just run out of the back,” 聽Rocky Tyson, a flight instructor with Okanagan Skydive said. 聽“It’s a lot of fun that way.”

Most of the skydivers are experts with hundreds of jumps behind them, but some are new to the sport, jumping out of a plane for the first time.

“It’s terrifying, but exhilarating,” Erin Sigalet, who traveled to the Okanagan from Calgary said. 聽“It’s so much fun.”

The Skyvan takes off every 40 minutes during the festival, at full capacity for every run. 聽 With that many divers in the sky at once, they end up doing some pretty interesting formations.

“So if people want to look up over the fields over Vernon they’re going to be seeing something spectacular,” Chalmers said.

The Great Canadian Freefall Festival continues through Monday.

ChangSha Night Net


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