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BUNGEE ADDICTS REALLY SNAP BACK

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Imagine throwing yourself off a bridge, hurling 100 feet toward a river below, then snapping back up to within 20 feet of the bridge and starting back down again. Imagine paying somebody to let you do it.

Sound crazy? It is.Starting from a perch 100 feet above a river canyon in Cody, thrill seekers of all ages are being inducted into the sport of bungee jumping.

"It's the most petrifying thing I've ever done," said Whit Benedict, bungee jumper.

Doug Hase, a recent graduate in economics from the University of Colorado in Boulder, is the founder of Adrenalin Adventures Unlimited - a bungee-jumping company based in Jackson.

The company offers a 100-foot "Monster Launch" and a 60-foot "Bungee Dunk" where the jumper plunges into Alpine Reservoir before the recoil of the cord rips him back into the air.

"We encourage people to push their limits, keeping safety as the primary objective. Adrenalin is, after all, that little hint of `what if' in the back of your mind," Hase said.

The bungee cords are basically big rubber bands, each capable of bearing a 1,300-pound load. Jumpers wear three or four of the cords at one time. The bungees are military cords used to lessen the tension on a tank parachute. Strapped to the jumper with two Chouinard climbing harnesses around the shoulder and waist, the cords constitute a foolproof system, Hase said.

The biggest decision for a jumper is the style of jumping.

The "layout swan jump" is a front dive off the edge of the bridge while maintaining a spread eagle position.

The dynamic jump is a backward plunge where the jumper "keeps eye contact with the clouds." Either way the event is fearsome.

The jumper can look forward to a vicious recoil at the bottom of his free fall that sends him rocketing back to within 20 feet of the bridge. After several bounces, the dangling jumper is lowered a rope and pulled to the side of the canyon.

Hase said his company is one of two legitimate bungee-jumping companies in the United States - the other located in northern California.

Hase charges $45 for the Monster Launch and $30 for the dunk - a small fee in comparison to the therapy you'll need afterward.