By Ashish Aggarwal

If there is one place that shall forever be imprinted in my memory, it is Interlaken. A quiet village in Switzerland that really packs an adventure punch. An exchange program to Antwerp in Belgium gave me the chance to put to bed one of the “things-that-everyone-must-do-before-they-die”- aka a Euro trip; which meant that we just had to experience as many stupid/cool/outrageous/ have to tell everybody back home adventures {that would obviously turn into exaggerated anecdotes later}.

So, there we were on a cold day in September on a leisurely train trip to Luzern in Switzerland, with the sole objective of unwinding as we checked out Luzern’s incredible lakes and natural beauty {yes, we had some nature photography freaks with us, the kind who spam FB nowadays}. As luck would have it, we ended up sitting in a compartment with a rugged looking local who insisted that our trip to the Alps would be incomplete without heading to Interlaken to check out the ‘breathtaking’ skydiving experience it had to offer. A second invitation was not required. Exactly an hour and two minutes later, the lazy trip to Luzern had just become a crazy skydiving excursion.

The beautiful village of Interlaken is about an hour and a half from Zurich and is nestled in a valley surrounded by the Alps and 2 pristine Alpine lakes. One can walk the entire breadth of it in about 25 minutes, but the best way to get around is an ATV {all terrain vehicle}, which is easy to rent, even with an Indian license. I strongly recommend staying at the Backpackers Inn – it’s great for shoestring budget travelers and a wonderful place to meet new people. In fact, the Inn came highly recommended by our Skydiving instructor from Skydive Interlaken, the oldest and most popular agency for skydiving in Interlaken. Paul was a really friendly guy who met us at the train station and took us straight for the jump, before we could rethink our decision!

I recall him building the excitement, and informing us straight up that in Interlaken, not only do you skydive from a helicopter in -2 degrees with a harsh cold wind; you skydive from 14000 feet right above Mt. Jungfrau, one of the highest peaks in Europe, and whiz by the snow capped peak at a breathtaking free fall of 200 kmph! He also told us that since this was our first time, we’d be doing a Tadem Skydive, which is essentially an instructor-assisted jump where the skydiver just has to chill and make faces for the camera and the responsibility of the dive is the instructor’s.

The Swiss are famed for their efficiency and they left no stone unturned in the 20 min pre-jump training that preceded the dive. Skydiving is also surprisingly simple in terms of eligibility and requirements – all you need are shoes and a body weight less than 105 kilos. Next, we were handed some professional orange jumpsuits and protective eye gear and were trained on how to position our body during the free fall, with our hands and legs spread apart. The detailed explanation of the equipment and the simulation made us feel like it we were in a movie. That was until they also made us sign a “no-blame” form, which stated that they were not responsible for any injury {read death} – making it all suddenly very very real. Not exactly the kind of motivation one needed before skydiving but there you have it.

Suited, booted and a bit nervous, we boarded the helicopter, which seemed to reach the desired altitude of 14000 ft a little too fast. It was my first time in a helicopter and I discovered that the thing with helicopters is, they can just hang in mid air. They have big ass doors, but a very tiny space inside considering, which basically meant that we had to stand on the railing and stare down at emptiness, while contemplating why we had just put our fate in the hands of people we had met an hour ago. So there we were, at 14000 feet, standing on a helicopter railing and I remember thanking God that there were clouds everywhere so we couldn’t really see how far down terra firma was.

I saw my friend jump before me, and I still have a clear picture of her hanging for a second, midair, before suddenly dropping like a stone and screaming her lungs out. Before I knew it, the skydiving veteran strapped onto my back prodded me, and it was my turn to stand on the edge of the world. There was a brief moment when all I could see was the sky and the clouds – and complete silence. And then I was flying into that very same image. The first thing I felt was a weird sensation that I had jumped and there was no ground when my feet were clearly expecting to touch something solid. I think that rush of speed and wind and just the knowledge of what I was doing overwhelmed me. I could really feel my heart going crazy and my adrenalin went soaring! I also remember feeling really thirsty and putting on a show for the camera {which costs an extra 120 CHF, by the way}.

skydive-1 Fly By A White Mountain at 200 kmph!

skydive-4 Fly By A White Mountain at 200 kmph!

skydive2 Fly By A White Mountain at 200 kmph! skydive3 Fly By A White Mountain at 200 kmph!

The 30 second free fall was enough to get a glimpse of the snow capped mountain peak rushing by, the lakes we had initially intended to see, the amazing landscape and all that Switzerland has to offer. The 5-7 minute canopy ride that follows the free fall is a relaxed, controlled journey that gives you an excellent vantage point to see anything up to a few miles in every direction.

Interlaken may not be the most economical place to skydive though, so one should budget about 20 grand for it. There are cheaper options in Dubai, Eastern Europe and USA, but Interlaken will always be my only recommendation – where else can you fly by a white mountain?

Related Links:

If you are keen to skydive, the best place to sign up/contact would be Skydive Interlaken – they are extremely professional, friendly and experienced. Check them out at:

Here’s another link for your reference, in case Switzerland is not a destination you are planning to go to soon –

How to get there? The best way from Delhi to Interlaken is via a flight to Zurich, and then onwards to Bern, and finally Interlaken by train.

What’s It gonna cost you | Expect to shell out anywhere between Rs. 20K – 25K for the skydiving excursion in Interlaken.


About the Author | Ashish is currently working as the Vice President of Round One, a startup based in Delhi. He has done his education from Delhi {from SRCC and Vasant Valley School}, and pursued an MBA from XLRI. He’s very passionate about sports and entrepreneurship, and loves Delhi for having a rapid growth in opportunities in both these domains, especially in the past 5 years.

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