Local BASE jumper invited to showcase skills this weekend
BRECKENRIDGE – For some, jumping off 1,000-foot cliffs isn’t enough. Nope. Some folks have to go and throw Tabasco Sauce on their jalapenos.
Breckenridge’s Kenyon Salo, who owns the Gourmet Cabbie, has that spicy kind of mindset. As one of the top BASE (Building, Antenna, Span and Earth) jumpers in the country, he’s always looking for ways to push the sport in new directions. He’s a pioneer who helped incorporate snowboarding tricks into the sport and, at last year’s Bridge Day in West Virginia, he helped a paralyzed man jump for the first time.
“I took the knowledge from when I did pro snowboarding and transferred it to BASE jumping,” Salo said. “Originally, people went flat and stable. The next level, people did a gainer. That was really big. Now, we’re trying to do backside rodeos and time it right.”
Friday, Salo will be showcased with 24 other BASE jumpers in Canon City as a part of the inaugural Royal Gorge Go Fast Games, slated for the 1,035-foot Royal Gorge Bridge. The event, featuring parachute, BM, BASE-jumping and climbing exhibitions, will run from 10 a.m. to dusk through Sunday.
“It’s just a spectacular setting,” said Heather Hill, vice president of communications and athlete relations for Go Fast Sports and Beverage Company. “It’s a site that’s been on the list of all the BASE jumpers. They’ve never been able to do this, legally.”
The organizers of the event had to push, pull and persuade bridge and train managers to allow the event, Hill said. They had to convince opponents that only the masters will be allowed to leap.
Even Salo, who’s jumped all over the world, films skydives for Mile High Skydiving in Longmont. He’s jumped a 180-foot cliff and opened as low as 50 feet. He knows the added perils of jumping off the Royal Gorge.
“It’s the highest bridge in the country. The longer you delay to open your parachute, the closer you come to a cliff,” Salo said. “Winds are a major factor every time you jump. Even if it’s 5 miles an hour, it could cause you to swing into a cliff.”
Plus, the boulder-ridden landing area is the final challenge for all the jumpers.
“I’ve had some close calls,” he said.
“I’ve almost struck a cliff in Switzerland. I’ve had line twists in my parachute. When that happened, I was dealing with it and ended up landing about 70 feet up in a tree. I hired a Swiss mountain guide to climb up and get my parachute.”
The adventure-seeker also makes BASE jumping movies with his production company, Triax. While Salo will be doing a front flip, he’s also filming his partners, Damien Doucette and Chris Pope, performing a backside 720. And, they’re filming him, too.
But, it’s all part of the underground world of BASE jumping, which gathers more in Moab, Utah than Colorado. And, while BASE jumping is a good place to meet your maker, it’s also a good place to meet that special someone.
Salo met his wife, Jill, BASE jumping and the duo are expecting their first child.
“We wonder (if the child) will be a jumper or if they’ll play chess of ballet,” Salo said. “I’m not sure.”
The Go Fast Games also offer in-raft, on-water viewing through Raftmasters. Ticket prices are inclusive in the park’s general admission price ($19 for adults, $15 for children and free for kids under 3).
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