Looking for spine-tingling excitement this summer? These are my Top 5 suggestions for summer capers, culled from five years of facilitating courses of out-of-the-box adventures.
1. YOUR BODY DRIFTING IN THE SKY: Hangar 289 offers both skydiving and ultralighting at a crazy colourful venue half-hidden on the highway into Steinbach. Some wild folks try both adventures in one afternoon. It's worth the trip and more. Everything is provided except your guts and willingness. Parachuting tandem is the best way to enjoy your first drift down from the sky. Every summer Hangar 289's wildly-painted residence is full of skydiving teachers from many countries such as Russia and Holland who are experienced and are trading teaching for jumps. One, an Israeli medical student known as "Moo" for his trademark Holstein jumpsuit, is spending his sixth summer in Manitoba, and is a competitive jumper worldwide. The cost on weekdays is $259 prepaid, or $284 with a $50 deposit. Weekends cost more. Call Kelsey Miller (204-339-JUMP) to book or go to 339jump.com.
2. SNOOPY AND THE RED BARON: Not interested in parachuting? Check out ultralighting. Pilot Barry Morwick of Adventure at Altitude is an international competitor and a natural comedian who deflects your nervousness with humour.
"Now is the best time to fly because you get to go up in shorts and a T-shirt, cool air, no mosquitoes," says Morwick, whose business is located upstairs at Hangar 289. "You're flying on the way up, and then we cut the motor and glide on the way down. You get both flying and gliding experiences in one."
Cost is $225. Call 204-333 WING two days in advance. Their website is altitude.ca.
3. DIVAS & DIVOS MAKE A CD: Recording a song at Mid-Ocean School of Media Arts at 1588 Erin St. is a blast. Dress like rock stars with your friends and/or family and bring a karaoke tape with music for your song. A technician is included in the $60 an hour price -- for best results you'll need two hours -- and you get a professionally mixed CD to take home and duplicate. Helpful, young staff make this a fun place. Pick a song everybody knows and change the words to suit your sports team, celebration, family get-together, wedding, birthday or whatever.
Taking photos or placing paparazzi pals outside the studio makes it even more fun. Check out their website at midoceanschool.ca.
4. HELICOPTER FLIGHTS: Cue the M.A.S.H. music! You're wearing headphones so your friends and the helicopter pilot can talk back and forth -- a cool conversation high in the sky. Don't let the price worry you. A flight with Custom Helicopter, based at St. Andrews Airport north of the city, costs $575 divided by the number of people in your group -- up to four for about 25 minutes. That's pretty cheap for a bucket list experience.
'You can catch some of the city, or a country flight. We're always here, seven days a week, as there's so much work to do," says Custom's Jim Hawes.
In addition to joy rides, the company does fire suppression, and works for mining companies, utilities, etc.
Call 204-338-7953 for info and bookings and check out their website at www.customheli.com.
Also check out Harv's Air Service at St. Andrews Airport, where pilots take people on 30-minute small-plane flights.
"We fly seven days a week with some evenings reserved for night flying," says instructor Libin Koshy. For a small Cessna 152 two-seater, the cost is only $88 for a private flight with the pilot. A larger Cessna, which accommodates three guests and a pilot, is just $118 per 30-minute flight. Hot tip for the pilot wannabes: If you request a Discover flight, the pilot teaches you about flying planes while you're up in the sky, almost like you're a student. Private flights require calls a week ahead. For a group flight, call anytime (204-339-6186). Website is www.harvsair.com.
5. YOGA ON HORSEBACK: All this madness a bit too much for gentle you?
How about Yoga on Horseback out at Aurora Farm, practiced only a few feet above the ground? Aurora is an organic farm two miles from St. Norbert run by farmer and activist Louise May. Classes include regular and yoga horseback riding, raising backyard goats and chickens, goat-cheese-making and making natural beauty products.
The farm is free and open to anyone visiting on a Sunday afternoon. If you come to pet the goats, admire the alpacas and exotic chickens or ride a horse for $10, you should also check out the cutest thing on the farm. Tiny George is a rejected baby goat -- the runt of triplets -- who is being bottlefed by Farmer May and now thinks she is his mother. The hairy little fellow follows three feet behind her everywhere she goes. For George, every day he lives and thrives is an adventure. Maybe we daredevils have something to learn from him. Website is at www.aurorafarm.ca.
Maureen Scurfield sincerely hopes you put on your big person underwear, and try some of these adventures. You know what they say: A ship in the harbour is safe... but that's not what ships are for!