Ted Davenport – Flying like a true Gatsby!!!!
Base Jumping Wing Suit Ninja of Extreme!!!!!!
We have this list. It’s called “The Extreme Adrenaline List.” We believe we did something that not to many can do….we tracked down Ted Davenport. Ted Davenport took off on an epic trip this year with Erik Roner and the rest of the adrenaline junkies from Europe. During the tail end of his free flying adventures, Hunt was able to find him. Hunt had some great words about Ted when he sent in the piece:
“I met this guy sitting outside a ski shop in Aspen. I was new to town…very new I was about to find out. ‘This is Ted. Nothing you do will be as crazy as this guy,’ said my new manager at this job I just landed. ‘Really? Seems like I should kick it with you.’ I said as jokingly as possible. Since that day I’ve watched this guy drop cliffs, send mountains, crash parachutes, and fly across the world in a suit….not a plane. He used to come over to the Big Wrap and fill up his soda behind the counter like family does. He would make jokes in my ear and I’d mess up the change for some tourist. He’s come back and ask me if it messed me up later when he got another refill….loved his playful nature. Ted now flies in skies with the biggest names….He himself is a legend in the extreme skiing world. Nothing short of amazing to me is his determination to push the limits of the unknown. Glenn Plake used to be on my wall when I was a kid. Ted Davenport is the guy they should be watching these days.”
Where are you now on the globe?
I just got back from the most amazing trip in Switzerland. I was there
for a few different wingsuit b.a.s.e jump projects.
How is it there?
It absolutely incredible in the Swiss alps, the mountains are unlike
anything else in the world. They actually have similar elevation to the
rocky mountains, however the valley floor goes all the way down to 1000ft,
whereas here in Aspen the valley floor is at 7000-8000ft. The aesthetic aspect
is simply “jaw dropping.” Sheer cliff walls towering thousands of feet up,
that are easily accessed by well timed cable cars and trains.
What’s been happening recently on the fly scene?
The newest craze in the wingsuit base world is proximity/terrain flying,
that is “to fly your wingsuit in close proximity to the mountain, which gives
you the most relative sense of your speed, and is certainly the most
exciting :).” The difference between proximity flying and terrain flying is
that in proximity flying you usually have an “out” (cliff on your left and
open air on your right). With terrain flying you are close to the ground.
Nowhere to go but forward, which requires far more precision in your flying
(no mistakes are allowed) period.
Which jump were you most excited about?
We had some amazing flights while in Switzerland, from flying through the
fog in the lauterbrunnen valley, to climbing the infamous Eiger mountain and
flying down the north face (over 4000ft vert). But the most memorable and
special location we jumped was certainly in Walenstadt. This is a massive
wingsuit flight, with over 5000ft in vertical, and over a mile in horizontal
distance. Most flight range between 1-2 minutes!…..Just to get to the exit
point you have to take:
a mountain train
then a cable car,
and then a 30min hike.
It has a very short start, just 600ft, but once you get going you have a multitude
of options. The most popular line is to fly through “the crack”, which
is an opening in the mountain that is less than 100ft wide in some places, with the
cliff walls and trees on both sides, giving the pilot 3 dimensional visual perspective.
This trip was the first time I flew through “the crack”, and it was a truly amazing
experience.I also got to experience it with my good friend and base jump partner
Rami Kajala, one of the worlds most talented jumpers. One of the best parts of
this sport (if not the best) is being able to share the experience with your
close friends. It creates a bond only found in high-consequence activities.
You trust them with your life, and theirs with you as well.
Big Things to watch in the Wingsuit world?
Just recently there was a major event held in China called the World Wingsuit
League Grand Prix. They held a timed race between 16 of the world’s best
pilots down a technical course filled with steep mountains, thick trees, and
tram cables. It received a ton of media exposure, and was a positive
reflection on the precision and difficulty of our sport. Another big event
coming up will be RedBull Top Gun. It’s a terrain flying competition in the Swiss
How do you prepare for a jump…mentally?
After 8yrs in the sport of base, I have found that a relaxed and
confident mindset is critical to having a successful jump. Being completely
confident in your abilities, equipment, and jump location makes the right
recipe for a great jump. As in any sport there is progression and you find
yourself wanting to push your own limits. But the important thing to realize
is that the cliff will always be there and there isn’t a rush to get something done.
It’s when your hungry to do something right at that moment that you become
complacent to your own ability…and things can go wrong very fast. I unfortunately
learned this the hard way a few years ago and almost lost my life because of it.
I’m glad to say that it has been some time since I’ve really scared myself and not
once on this trip did I feel like I was ‘rolling the dice.’ With that said this is a
dangerous sport. You have to prepare yourself the same way every jump…no matter
how confident you feel or think you are. And no matter how confident you are in your abilities, if your not feeling it that day….simply walk away. Like I said earlier, the cliff will always be there.
Who should we “watch for” in the Wingsuit world?
Right now there are a hand full of athletes who are pushing our sport
to new and unreal levels. Guys such as Jokke Sommer, Julian Boulle (WWL
Grand Prix Champion), JT Holmes and Alexander Polli are doing some of the
most unique projects that bring our sport into the mainstream media; showing the
world that humans can fly and do it safely. I could name another 20+ athletes
who are absolutely crushing it in the realm of wingsuit flying, lots of talented guys
and gals out there.
Smith Optics, Volkl/Marker, Phoenix-Fly, Discrete Headwear, Backcountry.com, GoPro, Aspen-Snowmass, Dalbello
What’s up for this winter?
I’m looking forward to a great winter season. Hopefully stacked with
powder! I have some different projects going on here in Colorado and in
Europe. Last spring I signed with Volkl/Marker International, and will be
focusing a lot of my effort in skiing and wingsuit flying across the pond.
How do you relax?
When I’m not up in the air doing 140mph, I like to enjoy my home and my family (fiancé and one kickass dog:). We do a lot of hiking, mountain biking, cooking, and simply enjoying this amazing place called Aspen (well Basalt officially :). Once winter arrives then its back on the hill….skiing powder with my friends.
Are you GGFam?
ABSOLUTELY! Grimey Gatsby rules!