KAVU Team athlete Hartman Rector took part in wing-suit flying in Fernie this winter.

KAVU Team athlete Hartman Rector took part in wing-suit flying in Fernie this winter.

Flying squirrels over the bears

In the wild world of action sports, there seems to be a continual upping of the adrenaline ante.

Submitted by Mike McPhee

In the wild world of action sports, there seems to be a continual upping of the adrenaline ante. With its sheer ridiculous entertainment value, there is little that compares to the newish sport of wing-suit flying. These unique athletes jump out of a helicopter or off a cliff, fly with their specially designed wing-suits and pull a small parachute when they are close to a landing zone. With little room for error, these stuntmen have not only been pushing the boundaries, but demolishing them.

When local Elevation Showcase shop owner Lance Edwards told me he was bringing some of the best wing-suit flyers in the world to Fernie again, the gears started turning.  How could we get them up to Island Lake and perhaps include it in the new TV show, which is currently in production? One of the segments of the new show is about inspiration and pushing your limits; with guys jumping from a helicopter and flying, this seemed like a logical connection.

The day started out with a bit of weather, so we took a Snow Cat up to explore some options. In the early afternoon the clouds broke and the warm spring sun revealed the peaks of the three bears in all their glory. The five KAVU Team athletes geared up and loaded the waiting helicopter. After a few rounds the “flyers” became more comfortable and buzzed Papa Bear peak, flying about 10 feet off the summit. Hartman Rector, who has a reputation for pushing the envelope a little further not only buzzed the big peak, but also did a corkscrew trick, rotating the body 360 degrees in mid-flight – a truly impressive sight.

While in Fernie, the crew, which consists of both the KAVU team and GoPro Bomb Squad, also took their work up the Three Sisters for more superhuman stunts.

Watch for video edits in the coming weeks and a segment on the Island Lake TV show next year.