Active + Adventure

Extreme Sports for Spectators

by Dave Flanagan

BASE jumping, Bridge Day, New River Gorge, Fayetteville, West Virginia

Why watch: Skydiving's rebellious offspring goes mainstream. Kind of…

BASE stands for Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth—which basically means thrill-seekers jumping off very high places and, after a few seconds holding their nerve (creating high levels of endorphins in the process), deploying a parachute. The BASE scene remains largely underground and mostly illegal, at least as far as leaping off man-made structures is concerned. But Bridge Day, held at the 876-foot-high New River Gorge Bridge in West Virginia, represents a rare opportunity for hundreds of BASE jumpers from around the world to express themselves without breaking into a skyscraper at dawn and escaping post-jump in a getaway vehicle. It also gives us earthbound mortals a rare opportunity to see BASE enthusiasts letting it rip. If watching the action with several thousand other nervous, awestruck spectators (from safe vantage points up on the bridge) isn't exciting enough, there's also the option of doing a tandem BASE jump. Who on earth came up with that idea?

Bridge Day, October 15, 2011

Next: Go snow-overboard in Oslo >

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