Cole Ratzlaff grew up in Pueblo West, Colorado and was always an active and athletic child. He loves running, hiking, swimming, wake surfing, biking and skiing and/or snowboarding in the winter. He even recalled placing second in a sprint triathlon once. It’s no wonder that Cole found and gravitated towards becoming a skydiver. This is his story.
Getting to Know Cole
“I did well in school as a kid, excellent in math and science. And I always loved all things rockets and planes!” he recalls. “I was an angel!” he said laughing. “I’m sure my mom and dad would agree!” Not only does Cole love the outdoors, but he’s also a musician. “I’ve been playing music for about two decades, have been in bands and even recorded music,” he shared. Cole recently got to show off his musical talents at Ultimate Skydiving Adventures Gold Rush boogie by playing guitar and singing original songs.
Now, Cole is a father of three, is building a cabin off the grid, and is the owner of Highlands Construction, Inc. and Highlands Metal Shop. “Basically I build wood and metal squares and triangles ranging in difficulty from simple garages to multi-million dollar passive solar homes that have the latest technology pulsing through their walls.” he said. He remembered that when he found out that he could make a living doing what he loved, he dove head first into working, and it was the perfect match where he could utilize his talents, strength and creativity. “I wasn’t sure what the outcome would be,” he started. “I’ve gained everlasting friendships, knowledge, experience and lifestyle that gives me a challenge everyday!”
He shared his business motto:
And most importantly, no injuries!
Getting Into Skydiving
Cole’s known about skydiving for awhile, but it wasn’t until hearing stories of his dad’s jumping days that a spark ignited within him. “My dad shared his experiences skydiving but it wasn’t until I was on a road trip last year (August 2020) in Arizona that I did my first tandem jump. Everyone I met that day had a huge smile and there was a positive energy surrounding the entire place! It was very refreshing as I was newly divorced. That left a huge imprint in my mind.”
From the plane ride up, the unfamiliar gear, and all the people had made everything truly exciting for Cole. “There was no door on the plane so I got to feel the wind the entire time. I stuck my hand out of the door over the Grand Canyon and enjoyed every moment flying in the plane to altitude,” Cole fondly reminisced. He continued, “And here we go, about to jump out. We got situated in the door with our legs dangling out of the plane. One…. two… three… big smiles and here we go! Falling to the ground with a rush of air blowing past, smiling, and screaming, and enjoying this moment like it was the last. Then BAM! The parachute opens and it gets quieter. We started making turns, spiraling to the ground. I was flying under this magic piece of fabric I finally got to see for the first time. We landed safely and I was instantly hooked. I wanted to learn how to do this on my own!”
Cole signed up to learn with us here at Ultimate Skydiving Adventures and was licensed in fall of 2020. He now has 160 jumps (and counting!) since earning his A licensed and now he’s setting his sights on earning his B, C and D licenses with a goal of becoming an instructor. “I want to meet new people, learn and grow as a person in this sport. I am now inspired to travel the world and experience new things. Skydiving has truly turned into a passion and I look forward to see where the adventures take me!” he said grinning from ear-to-ear.
Risk vs Rewards
For anyone on the fence about skydiving, Cole shares, “Make sure you have the time and money to dedicate. It’s fun but of a lot of risk, too. So there needs to be a certain level of discipline that is adhered to. If you can manage that, there is no limit to how much fun you can have!”
We’re fortunate to have Cole as one of our local jumpers as he’s now like the people he met on his first jump – all smiles! “I’m just happy to be able to jump with all the amazing people that I’ve met,” he added. “I just want everyone to find joy in what they do day-to-day, working, skydiving and everything in between!