Cool statistics from the world’s largest BASE jumping festival

For just 6 hours, once a year, Bridge Day becomes the focal point of extreme sports. Ever wanted to know exactly how many daredevils participated? The stats are in for 2017, so sit back and enjoy the numbers behind Bridge Day.

1. BASE jumping

No doubt about it: these parachuters steal the show. Witnessing someone soar from a 876-foot-high drop is an incredible experience. And since the New River Gorge Bridge is such an unusual launching point, hundreds of BASE jumpers arrive every year.

Here’s the lowdown:

  • Total number of BASE jumpers: 348
  • Number of states represented: 33
  • Age of youngest BASE jumper: 20
  • Grand total of jumps: 714

This year’s festival also brought back the launch for BASE jumpers— a crowd favorite. It was used 30 times.

2. Rappellers

Bridge Day isn’t a one-trick pony. Rappellers add another dynamic to the spectacle, making it even more unique. They use ropes and safety equipment to descend from the catwalk. Using those same methods, rappellers can also ascend from the gorge.

Check out these stats:

  • Total number of participants: 329
  • Number of rappels: 963
  • Number of climbs: 69

3. Daring spectators

Not everybody can be a BASE jumper or rappeller. Bravery aside, both sports require lots of experience prior to Bridge Day. Still, that doesn’t mean you’re limited to sightseeing. Provided you sign up in advance, it’s possible to do tandem BASE jumps with a pro. Another popular activity is the high line— a zip line attached to the catwalk.

See how many folks took the plunge:

  • Number of tandem BASE jumps: 18
  • High line rides: 98
  • Number of Bridge Walks: 164

Never heard of a Bridge Walk tour? These special outings on the catwalk are available all year. It’s a spectacular— and unforgettable— way to visit the New River Gorge.

4. Other noteworthy numbers

Like any event worth its salt, Bridge Day collects data that doesn’t fit into any particular category.

Take a look at this year’s haul:

  • Viewers from 12 different countries watched Bridge Day online.
  • The New River makes landings safe— another perk for BASE jumpers. This year, there were 95 water rescues.
  • The popular Bridge Day 5k attracted 241 runners. Racers ranged in age from 8-75 years old.

If you attended Bridge Day, feel free to share your favorite observation or bit of trivia!

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Adventure’s on the Gorge’s best summer family trips

Looking for a one-stop family vacation? Paddle, soar and explore with one of West Virginia’s most popular resorts.

Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG) in Lansing has summer thrills for folks of all ages. Just pick your element: water, air or earth. Then plunge in and make those family memories!

The wet zone

Adventures on the Gorge rafting

Did you know that the New River Gorge is a top whitewater destination? Whether you’re a beginner or confident rafter, the New and Gauley rivers have the diversion you crave.

So does AOTG. Their professional guides can take you on trips like:

  • Upper New River: an easy family outing with Class I-II rapids. Kids 6 and up are welcome!
  • Lower New River: a more dramatic section. Kids 12 and up are welcome to try the Class IV rapids on this full-day expedition.
  • Family Lower New: if your family has rafted before, sign up for this rambunctious trip. Kids 9 and older can join the fun if water levels are just right.
  • Dueling Rivers 2-Day: tackle the Lower New then gear up for the untamed Gauley! Rapids go from Class III-V, so you must be 15 or older.

AOTG has many more river trips, including overnight experiences.

The resort also has relaxing jaunts to the “Little Bahamas of the East.” AOTG’s Lake Multi-Sport Adventure in Nicholas County takes you to the clearest, bluest water east of the Mississippi. Against this stunning backdrop, you can kayak and even go rock climbing.

stand-up paddleboardingStand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is a tranquil alternative to rafting. AOTG has delightful lessons for the whole family at Summersville Lake and— for more experienced folks— the New River. Imagine paddling your way through West Virginia rapids!

Flights through the forest

These aren’t your ordinary zip lines. AOTG sweeps you high above treetops— acres of them, as far as your eye can see.

TreeTops Zip Line Canopy Tour lets you explore the old growth hemlock forest canopy from a series of zip lines, sky bridges, hikes and a rappel.

Gravity Zip Lines bullets you along at highway speeds 200 feet above the ground. The tour highlight is Adrena-Line, a ride that often hits 65 mph. But that’s just one of many. Altogether, you’ll cover 1.5 miles of airspace. Sounds more fun that running a mile, right?

Timbertrek Adventure Park is a blast, too. It’s an aerial obstacle course that advances in difficulty as you progress. Shaky bridges and sky-high platforms are just some of the challenges you’ll face. Not everything is what it appears to be, either. Use your smarts to find the most efficient way through the course! Or play at night if you’re especially daring.

Land roving

There’s casual pedaling through the neighborhood, and then there’s mountain biking. Let AOTG show you the difference.

A Fat Kat electric tour combines traditional pedaling with mechanical oomph. Quiet but powerful, these motorized bikes are a fun way to blast through the wilderness.

Of course, AOTG also has traditional mountain bikes. The 2-hour evening ride is an easy but scenic tour through the New River Gorge. For something more intense, sign up for the Half-Day Guided Mountain Biking trip. It’s a longer tour, but not necessarily difficult— unless you want to to test out those demanding single-track trails.

Want to make the most out of the Mountain State? Sign up for AOTG’s rock climbing packages. Professional instructors will introduce you to the area’s world-famous sandstone. Classes include evening climbs, full-day trips, and rappelling.

Then, there’s the most traditional way to explore: on horseback. AOTG’s trail rides penetrate the Gorge’s most romantic areas. Ramble to Glade Springs or, better yet, sign up for the blissful evening ride. Summer doesn’t get any better than that!

How do you like to spend vacation time with your family? For more trip ideas and inspiration, visit Adventures on the Gorge for anything from cabins to caving.

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Fly into the Gorge!

There’s more to Bridge Day than just base jumping.

This one-day festival is your chance to zip line or (with prior experience) rappel into the New River Gorge! Now’s the time to think about flying.

Rappelling

BASE jumping steals the limelight, no doubt about that. But rappelling is another Bridge Day sport. It’s awe-inspiring, too. With ropes and special equipment, repellers ascend or descend like spiders into the void.

All Bridge Day rappellers start from the catwalk, where starting positions are determined in advance by a lottery. So are teams. In fact, owing to the bridge’s extreme height, folks from around the globe enter for a slot— demand is that fierce.

If you know how to rappel, lottery registration is now available until June 16. Visit Bridge Day Rappel for rules and signup information.

High line

Highlining at WV's Bridge Day

Crave a piece of the action? While BASE jumping and rappelling require lots of experience, a high line does not.

Never heard of one? It’s basically a zip line that’s anchored to the New River Gorge Bridge catwalk. From there, you’ll drop 300 vertical feet into the gorge, straighten out and descend gracefully to the bottom. The total distance from start to finish is 700 feet.

As you can imagine, highlining is a giddy experience. Brisk autumn air, brilliant leaf colors and dizzying speed make quite a cocktail! If you’re game, getting signed up is easy.

Things to keep in mind:

  • No prior training is necessary. However, you must be 10 or older and not weigh more than 275 pounds.
  • Tandem rides are available. Share the journey with a friend! However, you might have to ride with someone if time gets limited or weather becomes a concern, too.
  • Spaces are limited. Get those tickets early!

In fact, registration is available now through Oct. 1, or until all slots are filled. You’ll get a safety lecture and high line orientation before the festival.

Bridge Walks

Can’t wait until October 21? Go on a Bridge Walk tour! These extraordinary “hikes” on the catwalk are available all year. Sign up, meet your guide and brace yourself for mind-boggling views. Don’t even think about leaving the house without a camera! If you’re lucky, you’ll spot peregrine falcons flying by at eye level.

Consider it a sneak preview of Bridge Day.

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Is Bridge Day on your bucket list? Make it happen.

Plan ahead for the world’s biggest BASE jumping festival!

For just 1 day, the New River Gorge Bridge closes to cars and opens up for aerial stunts, tourists and plenty of drama. If you’d like to have a stake in Bridge Day, get ready to snag the best activities before they’re gone!

BASE jumping

This year’s Bridge Day is Oct. 21, so you have months to prepare for the festival’s main event: BASE jumping!

BASE jump registration opens July 1 and closes Oct. 10. Since you’ll be leaping from the bridge to the gorge— a height of almost 900 feet— you must have years of experience. Get the proper gear, too. Among other things, you’ll need a 9-foot bridle and a pilot chute no smaller than 38 inches.

BASE jumpers from around the globe travel for this unique opportunity, so make sure you get that paperwork in order and start practicing.

Tandem BASE jump

BASE jump like a pro … with a pro

Only experienced folks can BASE jump solo at Bridge Day. But with an expert along for the ride, you can TandemBASE into the gorge, too. It’s an adrenaline rush you’ll never forget. Imagine what your pals will think!

Book your spot quickly – these spots fill up quickly!

Into the Gorge Shuttles

Some of the best Bridge Day views are actually from below the bridge. For one thing, it’s much less crowded in the New River Gorge basin. For another, you’ll get incredible photo opportunities as BASE jumpers wheel and arc in the sky.

Plus, how many times do you see folks gliding 876 feet from a ledge?

Get the best seats in the house with an Into the Gorge shuttle ride. These buses take you from the bridge to the New River, right near the landing zone. Tickets cost $25 for an all-day pass.

Ride a high line

Most folks assume that Bridge Day is for experienced rappellers and BASE jumpers only. But anyone can take a high line ride!

No skills are necessary. All you’ll need is enough chutzpah to swoop 700 feet from the bridge catwalk to Fayette Station Road, your landing zone. But be warned: this is a very popular event. Snag your spot before they’re all gone!

Solo rappel

BASE jumpers aren’t the only ones who leap from the New River Gorge bridge. If you’re a seasoned rappeler, you can play, too!

Bridge Day Rappel will provide ropes and anchors. It’s up to you to bring everything else: helmet, harness, carabiners, rack … you know the drill. Registration lasts from May to August, and you must train in the Gorge and at Whitesides prior to Bridge Day on Oct. 21. Bon voyage!

Bone up in the kitchen

Bridge Day’s Chili Cook-off is another festival highlight. Categories typically include traditional and nontraditional stew. There’s even a cornbread competition. If you’re fond of cooking or baking, start practicing! Your efforts might be worth a generous cash prize. Good luck!

What part of Bridge Day are you looking forward to?

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