TWIN FALLS — When Miles Daisher was 8 years old, he saw his first skydiver. He was mesmerized.
“That’s so cool! I want to do that,” he told his dad.
The seed had been planted.
He spent hours at the pool, perfecting tricks and jumps, learning the timing it would take to land just right and without injury.
He watched videos, tried to understand the complexities of the sport, and on Sept. 5, 1995, his childhood dreams came true. He got to skydive for the first time.
He was instantly bitten by the adrenaline bug.
Over the course of three days, he did 14 jumps, with the final jumps on day three being on his own.
Of course, that seems like a cakewalk compared to what he has accomplished in his 20-year skydiving and BASE jumping career.
Daisher is a professional BASE jumper and skydiver with the Red Bull Air Force, a group of extremely talented athletes who have a need for free-falling speed.
The love for the sport and the experiences he’s had has made his 4,127 BASE jumps, and 8,000 sky dives not just a job, but a full blown passion.
“You know how you’re a product of your environment?” Daisher said. “Well, I love BASE jumping and when I moved here I started to jump a whole bunch. And, if you get passionate about something, you put more into it.”
Daisher was working at Points North Heli Adventures in Cordova, AK, when he saw her. She was the woman of his dreams — the woman he knew he’d marry. The woman’s name was Nikki.
The connection was instantaneous, at least on Daisher’s side, and as they got to talking, that love began to blossom more.
Daisher, who had been to Twin Falls many times to BASE jump, was thrilled when he found out Nikki lived there, and when she told him, he didn’t hesitate.
“I said, ‘I’m on my way.’ I had to move there,” Daisher said. “She looked at me and said, ‘Are you sure we’re talking about the same Twin Falls?’”
Twin Falls has become legendary for BASE jumpers around the world. The Perrine Bridge is one of the only locations you can jump from both year-round and legally, it was the perfect spot for Daisher to pursue his love for both Nikki and the extreme sport of BASE jumping.
But before he could move to Twin Falls, he would be introduced to three very influential people: John Devore, Charles Bryan and Mike Vail.
These three men are the founding fathers of the Red Bull Air Force Team, and Daisher met them by being in the right place at the right time.
While Daisher lived in Lake Tahoe, he got a job at a sky diving business, met John Devore and was then asked if he would like to join the ground crew for the Red Bull Team.
Daisher didn’t think twice.
“I would do whatever it took at the drop zone. Answer the phone, wash the plane, harness the tandems, pack all the gear, that kind of thing,” he said.
It wasn’t until Daisher and his late friend Shane McConkey traveled to Baffin Island in Canada that his sponsored and professional career as a Red Bull Air Force team member began.
McConkey, a sponsored professional skier who also loved to BASE jump, traveled with Daisher to do some jumps from some of the world’s tallest cliffs. While there, they filmed a TV show for Red Bull, and that laid the groundwork for Daisher to fulfill a dream.
Red Bull officially asked him to join their team of BASE Jumpers, skydivers and paragliders. The rest is history.
Throughout his time as a professional jumper, Daisher has had the opportunity to do some pretty amazing stunts.
Just a few weeks ago he parachuted into his own backyard, which also happens to be near the Evel Knievel jump site. He’s done “skyaking” — jumping out of a plane in a kayak and a parachuting to land in a river.
He’s done rope swing BASE jumps, biked off the Perrine Bridge, out of planes and even done the legendary McConkey jump—a jump that requires you to dangle the parachute over first and then just front flip right off.
Daisher is also a huge fan of wingsuits, and the speed and precision you can achieve in free falling. But his all time favorite activity? Doing a wingsuit course that ends with smashing through a Styrofoam target.
As a man who has basically done it all, from wingsuits to paragliding, Daisher still feels that rush of fear each time he steps over the railing or the the edge of a cliff. A feeling that he says is a critical part of the sport.
“If you’re not scared, you’re probably fooling yourself. Fear is what helps keep you alive,” said Daisher. “I spend a lot of time training myself mentally for this, that’s really the most important part of this sport; to have your game plan ready before you throw yourself over the railing.”
And as for his wife? Well, Daisher says he’s thankful BASE jumping has become a career and not just a hobby.
“Of course, Nikki worries, but she knows I’m smart about it. I make good decisions. I’m very methodical,” said Daisher. “I know that if this wasn’t a way that I made my living, I probably wouldn’t be doing it anymore.”
Although he has devoted much of his professional life to Red Bull, he has also found a way to give back, not only to the BASE jumping community, but to the very people he spends his days with in Twin Falls.
Perhaps you have heard or gone to the Perrine Bridge Festival at one point. Just 10 years ago, Daisher and Nikki had an idea to create a fundraiser that could combine his love for BASE jumping, and also her work as an occupational therapist.
In their inaugural year, Daisher and his wife put together an entire festival in 2005, with the headlining event being a 24-hour BASE jumping spectacular by Daisher himself as he attempted to break the world record for most jumps in one day.
In typical Daisher style, he went all in. The original record was 26, and Daisher smashed that by more than double, achieving 57 jumps before a bad wind storm blew through at 8:30 p.m. and stopped him from jumping.
After eight years of orchestrating the whole event, the Daisher duo had to step down, but the festival is still going strong, and it’s something that both Daisher and his wife still cherish to this day.
“It was really awesome to give back to a community that fully supported BASE Jumping,” said Daisher. “We live here, we want to help out the people we live around and try to make world a better place. Think globally, act locally — that’s what we were trying to do.”
His life in Twin Falls, with the love of his life, three beautiful kids and a job that has energized him beyond words, has been without a doubt the best decision he has made. He is continually looking for ways to push the envelope, exercise his passion and bring the extreme world of BASE jumping to the masses.
Daisher said when he first started college, he thought he wanted to be a physical education teacher. Sometimes, when you start a journey, you are given a chance to take roads that fork away from your original plan, but it’s all worth it, he said.
Since he started with Red Bull, he’s been able to not only fulfill his life dreams, but also give back by teaching others the thrilling art that is BASE jumping.
“I started out wanting to be a PE teacher, that was my overall goal at the beginning. Now, it’s kind of coming back full circle,” he said with a laugh.
He may not be teaching traditional physical education, but the rush of teaching enthusiastic people the rules of the sky is the best reward he can get.